There is all kinds of excitement about the new rec centre for Morinville. There is a 15 million dollar budget for a glorified hockey arena that caters to less than 20 per cent of the Town’s youth.
The minor hockey program that this new arena will cater to costs the parents of these players $850 per year plus equipment, plus travel costs. Total cost I would estimate at about 1500 to 2000 per year .
Add to this time lots of time, travelling time, tournament time, fundraising time – it gets ridiculous when a child travels 1.5 hours to a game, plays 45 minutes, then 1.5 hours back. Included with dressing and undressing time that is 4.5 hours and $100 of gas for a 45-minute game for a 7-year-old.
Now minor hockey league children get one 50-minute practice per week and every two weeks one 50-minute home game. That equals to 75 minutes per week
Ecole Citadelle in Legal has a hockey program. The children spend 120 minutes a week on the ice. Everybody that wants can participate [and] even if you have no equipment or skates, the organizers will find the children some.
There is no travelling, no team jacket or pictures, no fundraising, just kids going to play hockey and having fun – the way it should be. The cost for this program [is] $75 per year. That is about 5 per cent of the cost of the minor hockey for about one-and-a-half times more ice time.
I took my son Pierre out of hockey in Morinville because of the traveling and the demands on my time. He loved hockey, but he also hated the travelling.
Now thanks to a sensible program in a small school he can participate in our national sport, learn as much if not more than in the minor hockey program and have fun.
Also, a very remarkable aspect of that hockey program is that no one is left out. Everyone that wants to can participate.
I will repeat that. Everyone can participate.
Our minor hockey program is organized to death. More and more children drop out because of all the requirements of the association. I have nothing against travelling teams, and I think they are great for those who want to. However, what about the others. How many children do not play hockey because of the costs and the time demands on the parents.
Children under 10 do not care who they play. They can play the same three teams all year, and they would be happy. I am all for making a system that has parity, but there has to be better ways than travelling to Sherwood Park or Drayton Valley or Leduc.
Now there will be a new arena to cater to the association teams. The rest of the children, I guess can stay home and play video games.
I want to congratulate the Citadelle School in Legal and its staff for their hockey program.
They are the little school that got it right.
Bob Chauvet, Morinville