There is strength in family, and that’s why the Beaver Valley Nitehawks are asking former players and coaches to return to the nest and help build the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Alumni Association.
Since its 1981-82 inaugural season, the Nitehawks have seen more than 500 players take to the ice wearing the blue and orange. Many went on to play Junior A, University, and professional hockey, and a select few, including hometown products Adam Deadmarsh and Barret Jackman, enjoyed lengthy careers in the NHL, with alumni Cody Franson in his 10th NHL season and his second with the Buffalo Sabres.
However, the vast majority of Nitehawks alumni take the more well-trodden paths and go on to careers outside of hockey, raise families, and contribute in their own way. But there are many challenges that face players when junior hockey is over, an organized and effective Nitehawks Alumni Association would offer support and assistance when needed.
“Last year we had a player attending Selkirk College in Castlegar and there were days he couldn’t afford the gas to drive to school,” explained Nitehawks head coach and GM Terry Jones. “The pressures on this young man were enormous and he was unable to continue his studies.
“An alumni association could have a minimal yearly fee of $10 or $20, which could specifically be used for scholarships and training for current and graduating players.”
The Nitehawks legacy has humble beginnings with two Beaver Valley residents Darrell Dickson and Shirley Levesque building the team based on a burgeoning BV minor hockey program. The early teams set the stage for excellence, as the Nitehawks grew into one of the winningest teams in league history. Over the next three decades the Nitehawks won their division championship 12 times, the KIJHL Championship seven times, three Cyclone Taylor Championships, and one Keystone Cup Championship.
The Nitehawks Alumni Association will reunite former teammates through social media, newsletters, and a variety of functions from a reboot of the annual alumni hockey game to summer golf tournaments. More significantly, the idea of an “NHAA” scholarship fund can directly assist and motivate Nitehawk players to work toward their training and educational goals beyond hockey.
“With our credo, ‘Once a Nitehawk, always a Nitehawk,’ we can all pull together and proudly reach out to those following in our footsteps,” added Jones.
Nitehawks are encouraged to get in touch with other Nitehawks, and contact the team via the Nitehawks Facebook page or their website, bvnitehawks.ca, with their email addresses and contact information.