Editor's note: the following was first published in the Nov. 20, 2012 print edition of The Compass.
Minor hockey continues to be a popular choice among young people in the Trinity-Conception region, with just under 800 young people registered with associations in Harbour Grace, Bay Roberts and Whitbourne.
"We are experiencing a continuous and steady increase in members," said Pamela Whelan, registrar for CeeBees minor in Harbour Grace. "And we are pleased to say we are seeing more females playing divisional hockey."
CeeBees minor and Bay Arena minor in Bay Roberts each have roughly 300 young people registered for the 2012-13 season. In Whitbourne, just under 170 players have enrolled in Trinity-Placentia minor, said longtime president Eric Clarke.
Bay Arena is on par with past years, while Trinity-Placentia is down about 25 players.
"I figure that number will grow when all is said and done," Clarke said recently.
Derrick Neil, the registrar for Bay Arena minor, said the numbers for squirt, novice and atom are "very high."
"We're pleased given the different number of things kids can be involved in," said Neil.
"It makes us feel good people are still sticking with hockey and they like it. We must be doing something right.
- Four-year-old Carter Thomas of Spaniard's Bay makes his way slowly around the ice during his first practice session at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts in Oct. 10. Thomas is registered in the squirt division with Bay Arena minor hockey, and is th son of Craig and Andrew Thomas. Carter has two siblings: Anika (10) and Couglan (2)." />
"The goal from a board perspective is to provide enjoyment for kids at all ages, and we're doing our best to make that happen."
Neil is also pleased by a surge in female registration. His daughter, 16-year-old Brianna, for example, started playing hockey for the first time this season. Brianna has a strong background in figure skating.
"She's playing with the girls' under-20 and she's having a ball. It's very unusual to begin at that age when most are giving it up," he said.
Associations have also taken measures to bolster the number of goalies, and first-time players continue to receive a discount on their registration.
In Harbour Grace, registration fees were increased in order to offset a corresponding hike in insurance and ice rental costs.
Meanwhile, the level of activity is beginning to ramp up now that most teams have been selected and weekend tournaments are being staged throughout the region.