by Andru McCracken
There will be no minor hockey in McBride this year.
Interest in playing hockey and running the overseeing organization is not there said Lisa Franke, treasurer of McBride Minor Hockey.
“No one came to our meeting to take over the association,” Franke said. “Unless people come forward to take it on…”
Franke has only heard from three kids that want to join hockey at all this year.
She said coaching staff is not the problem.
“A big part of it is not having enough kids. I don’t know if parent apathy is an issue,” said Franke.
For her, getting things back on track would be straight forward.
“What we need are a bunch of parents with young kids who are interested in playing hockey for years to build the program back up again,” she said. “I don’t know if they are out there.”
Franke said the organization will be kept alive to see if there is interest next year.
Former McBride Grizzly Dylan Walchuk is saddened at the news.
Walchuk is currently playing for the Kunlun Red Stars in Beijing, China. It’s part of a farm league for the Russian KHL.
“It’s disappointing because hockey is such a huge part of the culture in McBride,” said Walchuk. “While I was growing up I remember the rink used to be full during hockey tournaments. The whole community would come support the Grizzlies and the town would be buzzing from the all the people staying from the visiting teams.” Walchuk said the rink was a place to catch up and have a good time with the neighbours.
“Some of my fondest memories are going to the rink to watch us battle it out against Valemount,” he said.
He said he thinks hockey is more than just a game.
“It brings people together and I know for myself and others, it teaches us important qualities. It opens doors and provides other opportunities in life.”
Walchuk said he’s experienced things he never would have thought possible because of hockey.
“It’s something I wish every hockey player in McBride would get a chance to experience, so it’s saddening to hear they won’t be running a minor hockey program this year. I hope it’s only temporary and minor hockey is back in McBride soon.”