Slave Lake Junior Rec (pond) Hockey has been going “so long, they (the previous organizers) couldn’t even find a start date,” says Athena Williams, one of this years organizers.
The 2020-21 hockey season is no exception, although there are a few changes because of COVID-19. These have been mandated by the Alberta government.
One is no hanging out in the lobby before and after games, says Heather Bablitz, the other organizer. The group is to arrive 15 minutes before their ice time, sign-in, and spectators have to stay in one place on the stands.
Pond hockey doesn’t travel for games, says Williams, so any restrictions on that end don’t impact the group. Also, the players are divided into age groups, with each capped at 25 players, so well below the team cohort maximum of 50 players.
“Play will be the same,” says Bablitz.
“It’s (pond hockey) kind of an alternative choice for people who don’t want to travel,” says Bablitz. It is cheaper, more relaxed and all about having fun on the ice.
Ice time focuses on “developing skills and usually a fun scrimmage for the last,” says Williams.
Pond hockey season starts October 6 and goes until the end of February. It costs $200 per kid per season. Jump Start and Kid’s Sport applications are available if this is too much for a family.
There are three groups: Group 1 – six to eight year olds, Group 2 – nine to 11, and Group 3 – 12 to 14.
Slave Lake Junior Rec (pond) Hockey registration is Saturday, September 12 from 10 a.m. to noon at Hilda Eben Park in SE Slave Lake. If it rains or is otherwise postponed, a message will be put on the group’s Facebook page.