Portage Minor Hockey Association's looking back at 2016 as a year with a few bumps, but a positive year overall. One challenge in particular was the departure of several board members in the off season.
"In the spring and throughout the summer we had some changes in board members," says President Peter Fedak. "A change like that in management in any organization becomes difficult. You end up with three people who have been on there for a while with a lot of new ideas coming in, and the new ideas are fantastic, but it takes time and energy to get those changes put in."
A couple of highlights from the organization include the moving their Breakfast Club from Friday to Wednesday, to incorporate those who couldn't attend because of tournaments. "We also brought in a contracted instructional program from the Hockey Development Program," boasts Fedak. "We brought the Rink Training Centre out and they ran checking clinics for all age groups, to try and reintroduce proper checking and how to get that minor bit of contact without body checking for most of the leagues. It was a great advantage because when they eliminated body checking a few years ago, people thought you couldn't touch anyone at any time on the ice, and unfortunately that's untrue. So to bring that back in at Novice and Atom to show you can rub guys out and push around, you just can't have the big hits, I thought that was a great opportunity for the kids and coaches."
PMHA's got a big 2017 ahead of them with their sights set on Hometown Hockey in March. Fedak says the kids are very excited.
"Minor hockey plays a large role whenever that Hometown Hockey from Rogers and Tim Horton's shows up in a town," explains Fedak. "So we'll be doing some food sales for that to raise funds for us, and there's going to be huge 'atoMc' rink for the Atoms from McDonalds for them to play in. Also the teams will get different opportunities to interact with the crew as the go along. So that's going to be an exciting thing for the kids and especially Portage Minor Hockey in 2017."
He adds they're a big organization with 200 kids and 16 to 20 teams a season so it's important they get the volunteers needed to run smoothly. He encourages you to get out their and a become a coach, assistant coach, ref, or even a board member.