Minor Ball Hockey League Ready to Launch Another Season

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Ball hockey players in the US group spend time learning skills together at the CMCC.

As the end of the local ice hockey season approaches, minor hockey players can find solace in the knowledge that its warm-weather equivalent will be starting soon on home “ice” to fill the void.

Players can switch their hockey skates for sneakers for a warmer hockey experience in the Cavan Monaghan Community Centre this spring.

The Ball hockey league was founded in Ontario in 1974.  Combining many key skills used in other sports such as ice hockey, basketball and soccer, the sport has grown in popularity, with more than 1700 teams across the province.  In addition to being fun, Ball hockey is affordable, and allows participants to develop a range of skills that are useful in a variety of sports.

This local league was founded by Guye Vondette in 2017, when it began with four teams.  It now boasts two divisions and expects to field roughly 48 teams in the 2024 season.

Last year, Vondette launched an East division in Norwood, referring to the Millbrook teams as the West Division.  In their inaugural year, Norwood combined U8 and U10 players to form four teams so they could play each other.   Vondette hopes that number will double this season.

Registration is now open for this certified, insured league operating through the Ontario Ball Hockey Association.  There are six divisions from squirt to bantam (U5 to U15) so local youngsters ages three to sixteen now have the chance to play.  Most of the action occurs in one hour slots on weeknights from 6 to 9 pm with the Squirts playing on Sunday mornings.

Squirt players will enjoy ten weeks of ball hockey but the focus of their activities will be on skill development through drills.  The Jr Tykes or U6 teams, play on Monday evenings.  Their time will be evenly split each week between skill development drills and scrimmages.  By the time players reach the U8 division, they are playing full floor games against other teams in their division.  The league expects to field eight U10 teams, two of which will participate in the provincial competition scheduled for July in Belleville.  The Peewee division (U15) will continue to register players ages 13 to 15 in order to allow players to stay another year.

The league is fully-insured and certified by the Ontario Ball Hockey Association, following its rules and regulations.   Games consist of two, sixteen minute periods with six players on the floor and controlled by certified referees.

Until last season, one of the referees on the floor was usually Vondette, but given the expansion experienced by the league, more help has been required.  Each house league team aims to have five volunteer coaches or assistants.  There is no certification required and those interested can indicate that on the registration form or by contacting the league. For the younger teams, Vondette explains that ball hockey or ice hockey players can acquire high school community service hours in this league by helping as team assistants, trainers or timekeepers.

The season begins on April 7th after the Easter long weekend and wraps up at the end of June.  Some teams get a brief extension to their season by participating in the provincial competition in July.

In 2019, Vondette’s dedication to the sport was recognized provincially, when he was awarded the Ontario Ball Hockey Association Executive of the year.  This year he has taken on a provincial responsibility as Chair of the 25 Youth Leagues for the Ontario Ball Hockey Association.  To say he is dedicated to the support is an understatement.

The league is still looking for team sponsors, coaches and assistants.  For more information about this summer recreational opportunity or to register, visit the website at www.peterboroughballhockey.com or contact Guye Vondette by email at pmbhlpresident@gmail.com.  KG

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