The number of kids lacing up skates for minor hockey in Sooke continues to rise.
According to Nick Szadkowski, vice-president of the Sooke Minor Hockey Association, the number of players registered for this season is approximately 250, which might be higher given that some late registrations are expected.
“We were down under 200 before the last two years of COVID,” he said. “Registration has grown last year and again this year.”
Szadkowski, in his 12th season of coaching and seventh with the association’s executive, is happy to leave the challenges of the past two years arising from the pandemic behind.
“There were no games in the first year, and I felt terrible for the kids,” he said. “They could still practice, but the reward for all that hard work for the kids is the games, so it’s great to see a return to a more normal schedule.”
A dozen teams playing this year will include rep teams for U18, U15, U13 and U11.
The list of potential tournaments hasn’t been finalized yet, but Szadkowski said interest would be high province-wide after the lack of tournaments during the past two years.
“We’re not hosting any this season, but we’re looking at getting into as many as possible,” he said. “It’s a fun time for the kids and the parents; for many, it’s their winter holiday.”
Sooke Minor Hockey Association is still accepting registrations for this season for players between six and 18 years of age.
“We always welcome latecomers, and no kid is turned away,” Szadkowski said. “Keeping kids active and healthy and engaging their minds is so beneficial.
“Sports, especially in small communities like Sooke, is really important for kids. A lot of what I learned in sports has carried over to my adult life. We’re a completely 100 per cent volunteer organization, and I want to thank all the parents and volunteers for helping keep kids active.”
Sooke Minor Hockey also offers a First Shift program at the end of the season.
“It’s a great way for newcomers to try hockey out but don’t want to sign up for the whole year,” Szadkowski said.
To register or for more information, please visit sookeminorhockey.ca.