Above : The Morinville Mavericks (Reddon team) played the Sangudo Cyclones in the fourth game of a 14-game weekend tournament on Saturday, Mar. 4. The Fun Team Hockey program tournament brought together ten teams from around the region and beyond. – Stephen Dafoe Photos
Above: The Morinville Mavericks (Dohms) played Rich Valley (Nowicki) this afternoon as part of a 14-game Fun Team tournament. Here are some shots from the game.
by Stephen Dafoe and Morinville Online
The Morinville Mavericks hosted their 2023 Fun Team Hockey Tournament over the Mar. 4 weekend, gathering together ten teams for 14 games. Each team played three games. The games took place at the Morinville Leisure Centre and Legal Arena.
The program is run locally by Jason and Kimberly Wood, who took the program over in 2020. Jayson is the Mavericks’ president, and Kimberley is the secretary.
Jason Wood said the association hosts an annual tournament for all Northern Alberta FunTeam Associations, but due to the recent transition of the program, they chose to host a smaller Senior Tournament to become familiar with the process.
“This year, we chose to host an intermediate tournament to see every FunTeam Hockey Club & Community send a team, from as far as Mayerthorpe & Sangudo to as close as RQB,” Jayson Wood said. “For FunTeam to date, this will be the largest youth hockey tournament held in Northern Alberta, and we would certainly like to see it grow in future years to come.”
The Mavericks are part of Fun Team Hockey, a program that sees itself as a local alternative hockey program focusing on the value of providing an affordable youth hockey experience, complementary to other organized hockey leagues, without the extensive commitment to being competitive.
Wood said over the past couple of years, the program has continually developed a foundation for future success.
“We have seen a 32 per cent increase in registrations, established a Board of Directors consisting of five Executive Positions and four supporting positions, while also expanding our player development to now include a weekly practice solely dedicated to goalie skill development and mentoring,” Wood said.
Currently, the Mavericks have four teams, each comprising 16 to 20 players. The teams are divided into one beginner team (ages 6-8), two Intermediates teams (ages 9-11), and one Juniors team (ages 12-14) amalgamated with the Seniors (ages 15-17).
“Our Beginner and Intermediate groups are quite popular and are primarily made up of families who recently joined our program over the past few years,” Wood explained. “We find that this is the age range where youth love being on the ice and playing the game, but don’t necessarily enjoy the heavier commitment that comes with participating in their local Minor Hockey Association. As for parents, our program provides an opportunity for their child to play hockey while lessening the financial burden placed on families.”
Wood said a new program will be introduced in the summer of 2023 to further support local families to enjoy hockey with the Mavericks.
“Local businesses have stepped up and committed to sponsoring the registration fees for a player for the coming season,” Wood said. “We will also introduce an early fall hockey equipment swap for Association families to assist in the rising cost of hockey gear.”
The Woods are grateful for the ongoing passionate support of the volunteers and sponsors, which is necessary for the program to exist.
“From Christina Snodden, our Treasurer who has established the association’s core functions from scratch, Dustin Reddon our Vice President who provides invaluable insight and leadership in coaching, and policy and curated our first by-laws this past year, or to Kimberley Wood, our secretary, who is the pillar of immeasurable support and the glue of the whole organization,” Wood said. “All of our parent volunteers see the difference in the Mavericks organization and how it benefited their children. Those parents and many more volunteers give because they want to be a part of that difference.”
Wood went on to say the primary purpose of the Mavericks Association is to provide an affordable opportunity for youth to be a part of a team and play hockey.
“We have succeeded at keeping our annual registration fees at an affordable price point due to the generosity of the local business community,” He said. “Their willingness to support our mission is invaluable, and because of this support, we can open the program to more families each year.”
Below are some photos from the Morinville Mavericks (Reddon team) Vs. Sangudo Cyclones game
Below are some photos from the Morinville Mavericks (Dohms) Vs. Rich Valley (Nowicki) game
The organization has been an absolute blessing for our boys! They’re skills and confidence on ice have improved all while having a fun time with their team and coaches. Our kids always head off the ice with a smile on their face! We are very greatful for coach Dustin, Jason, Kim, and all the parents that diligently come excited each week to pour into these kids. We are excited to see this organization grow in excellency!