There is so much to be positive about in the hard-won amalgamation of greater Trail’s minor hockey programs that it is hard to praise the efforts of those who made it possible too highly.
But, beside the facts that opportunities to play will increase at all levels and the use of all the involved rinks will mean more ice time for those exercising those opportunities, perhaps my biggest response is relief at the sight of intercommunity co-operation inching forward in an area that has seen too little of it in recent decades.
Back in the day, when such co-operation was seen as essential to our common good, there was no rivalry to speak of between the communities of the Beaver Valley and the rest of the area.
In fact, when Trail was the undoubted dominant force in minor hockey in B.C., a part of the reason was the inclusion of Beaver Valley kids in Trail Minor Hockey.
There was no Beaver Valley Arena – not that there being one now is anything but a positive for the area – so kids from there played as part of the Cominco Arena horde.
During the first couple of decades of the Minor Hockey Week celebrations invented here, Beaver Valley kids played on basically Greater Trail teams and contributed to the excellence that propelled rep teams from here to almost countless provincial titles (AAA, Open or whatever, titles.), and a couple of interprovincial ones, as well.
Rossland had its own minor sports, but even then the rivalry between what is now, “them,” and, “us,” on so many too many issues was pretty much relegated to hockey (and lacrosse) and curling rinks and ball fields.
Some years Rossland had outstanding hockey teams that pushed Trail harder than any other competition in the province.
Many years the crucial pickups that helped the junior Smoke Eaters win B.C. titles were seconded from the junior Warriors after close battles between the two clubs for West Kootenay bragging rights.
Things have changed, of course. Trail minor hockey hasn’t even competed at the province’s top level for quite a while. Demographics are the major reason, but the inclination of parents to want their kids to at a lesser level of competition to inrease their chance of winning has played a part, as well.
An offshoot of that attitude – some parents wanting an easier ride into rep play for their kids than will be available when the competition comes from the entire area – was the main final stumbling block for the long-needed change we see this season.
But, tough competitiion makes better play, and players. So, too, is co-operation usually better than confrontation, especially when it comes to communities.
This amalgamation will take us a tiny distance back towards the time when almost everybody in the area looked out for the common good rather than just the good of their own neighbourhood.
It is a progressive step for the area.