Minor Hockey Day in Trail is all about participation and having fun, that’s why close to 400 young Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association skaters will take to the various ice surfaces on Saturday to celebrate Canada’s number one sport, in B.C.’s number one sport’s town.
On Saturday, the festivities begin bright and early with the traditional pancake breakfast courtesy of the Local 480 going from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Cominco Gym.
“Those guys are going to be hard at work again, and then it’s games all day, and the Smoke Eaters game at night,” said GTMHA organizer Jim Maniago. “Hopefully it will be a fun day for everybody, and the more people around the rinks the better.”
The matches begin at 8 a.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre, and 8:30 a.m. at Beaver Valley Arena, and Rossland Arena with all levels going throughout the day. To push the participation and fun factor, GTMHA is mixing up the teams in Novice, Atom, and Pee Wee so kids can play in a mini-tournament.
“The focus is always on having fun, but sometimes we get away from that and get too competitive so by splitting all the kids up into different teams than they normally play on, mixing up kids of all skill levels together, we hope that every kid will just go out and enjoy themselves,” said Maniago.
Minor hockey director Charlie McLean introduced Minor Hockey Week to Trail in 1957, with the slogan “Don’t send your boy to play hockey – Take him.” The following year, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association liked the idea so much, they made it an annual event celebrated across Canada.
This year GTMHA will see over 20 teams and as many games take to the ice, and Maniago says the logistics of so many games is often challenging, with perhaps the biggest obstacle finding enough referees to officiate all the matches.
“I wish we had more ice we’re jammed up everywhere, and the referees are scrambling to try to cover everything. It’s a busy night.”
The Rossland Arena will be the site of a Midget House tournament, while the Bantam AA Smoke Eaters will host Salmon Arm in Okanagan Mainline amateur hockey action to top the day off at the Beaver Valley Arena with the game starting at 4:15 p.m. The Midget AA Smoke Eaters also host the Penticton AA team at the Cominco Arena at 4:30 p.m.