By Jodie Sieben
The High Country Rockies Minor hockey association together with numerous parent volunteers and support from local businesses in the area pulled off an amazing hockey tournament this year! The annual “Faceoff in the Foothills” Atom level tournament was a great success; as it has been for many years now. The tournament has provided many opportunities for people and businesses in and around our community to become involved with and support the future generations of our community.
When a parent signs their child (son or daughter) up for a sport such as Minor Hockey; not only are they committing their child to the sport/team they as parents are making an even bigger commitment. If it was not for all the hard work and dedication from the families minor sports would be unaffordable for most; the kids depend on the parents to step up and help out. Associations and not just minor hockey, depend upon the parents and families who volunteer to operate. Extracurricular activities are not just about dropping your child off for a few hours of peace and quiet it’s about having a chance to be involved and give back to your community. An opportunity to become involved with your child(ren), a chance to discover who they are and want to be and perhaps a chance for you to learn a little about yourself as a parent as well.
There is a lot of hard work and dedication from families that go into planning an event such as this. There are hours of planning, typing, fundraising, researching, recruiting, emailing and setting up that go into the tournament. Along with all these hours, there are the numerous generous donations from within and around our community. Local businesses are also given the chance to support the people that support them.
With all that work there is lots of fun to be had as well, friendships are formed and memories are made. This year was a great success with close to $9000.00 raised that will go towards the kids in our association helping offset the costs of ice, equipment and all the other requirements that need to be funded in order to make the association a success.
There was fun and excitement had by all; as well as hosting the 8 teams who competed in the tournament there was a Mom’s shootout on Saturday won by a very proud hockey mom! A fun and competitive skills competition was held on Sunday which included a Hardest Shot and Accuracy component with a Men’s, Women’s and Kid’s division. A big thanks to Officer Devin of the Town of Black Diamond and Kevin Sieben (proud hockey grandpa) for bravely taking the seats behind the net with the radar guns. As well Classic Source for Sports in Okotoks for supplying the second sports radar gun and the prizes for the kids division of the competition. All in all our community came together to throw an awesome event to support our children.
The tournament and season from a coach’s perspective; courtesy of the Head coach of the Atom B team Nolan Tholl. “Coaching gives me a chance to give back to the kids, to help them improve and learn as players and teammates. This was my first year in this position and as a volunteer, I found I had lots of support from my association and from my fellow coaches. Throughout the year as I got to know the kids, I began to realize just how much of a unique individual each child was, I had to learn to adapt the drills to them and teach them in a way that they could learn. I spent a lot of time exploring drills and planning for our practices. Coupled with my experiences as a hockey player, how could I show them the game; I wanted to be able to push them as far as they wanted to go. Hosting a tournament in our home town gave the kids a chance to showcase all of their new skills they learned throughout the year and to finish off the season, playing with the support of their families, spectators and businesses from their local community. Being able to perform at home gave them a huge boost in their team morale. I discovered that in order to earn respect from the kids they had to feel a certain level of respect from us as coaches. I found I connected with the kids by being involved with them; not just drawing drills and barking orders but getting in there with them and showing them the game and sharing my love for the game with them. I would coach these kids in a heartbeat again any day.”
For many years in communities all over, the rink has been the center of the community; from spectators showing up to support their local players or people lacing up and playing a game of pickup shinny. The rink has been the heart of many Canadian communities; when families and businesses come together to host a tournament for the kids of their community it brings that heart back home.