BARRY’S BAY – Minor hockey may no longer be an option for local Barry’s Bay and area kids in the near future if costs continue to increase.
This statement was recently announced at a November 5 special Township of Madawaska Valley Recreation, Heritage and Community Economic Development Committee meeting.
Chairman of the Committee Carl Bromwich took it upon himself to set up the special gathering recently, because to lose minor hockey would be tragic, he said at the beginning of the meeting.
“This is for our children and to ensure that they have somewhere to play,” he said. “Times are tough in the Valley, but recreation is probably the most necessary part of our operation as council.”
Hockey is an important part of life for a lot of kids too, the chairman insists.
Back in the 1950s, Bromwich played minor hockey.
He recalled cleaning lawns just to buy a pair of skates and even afterwards, the remainder of his gear was donated so he could play.
Bromwich paid $1.50 a week to play after that – even though; he only played one game that season.
“But I scored one goal that season and it was in the championships,” he told those in attendance. “That one goal stayed with me my whole life.”
Bromwich was 10 at the time.
Because of Bromwich’s experiences as a youth, after learning about the minor hockey association being in trouble, he asked the Barry’s Bay and Area Minor Hockey Association’s Marc Leclerc to come forward to the council table.
The statistics presented at the latest recreation meeting startled some committee members.
The costs are plainly just too much to continue on with Barry’s Bay and area minor hockey, Leclerc told committee members this November 5.
About three years ago, the association had roughly 185 registered players. To date, however, that number has dropped to about 144.
“After the township raised ice costs by more than 50 per cent, we’ve lost more than 25 per cent of our players,” Leclerc said.
Without programs like the Jumpstart Program, the number would be even lower, the minor hockey rep added.
Hockey is no longer reasonable for a lot of families – for a lot of kids, this was the point driven home recently.
In many other municipalities, the costs are not as high for ice rentals either, Leclerc points out. In places like Renfrew, Deep River, Pembroke or Petawawa, ice rentals are cheaper, in comparision to Barry's Bay.
Read more in the November 13, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.