A new hockey league in Woolwich is all about playing with your friends and bridging the gap between the end of hockey season and spring tryouts.
Registration for Woolwich Minor Hockey Association’s new 4-on-4 spring league filled up this week, but you can get your child put on a waiting list if you didn’t get in before the deadline. They’re also still looking for two PeeWee goalies.
WMHA president Rob Waters says they can’t start tryouts until after AAA and AA tryouts happen in May, leaving all of April open with no hockey.
“In order to justify keeping the rink open we had to partner with the township to fill some hours for the rink,” Waters said. “The last couple years, prime ice has been booked for the most part in April at the rink. I want to say we’re about 45 hours of ice we’re booking just for that 4-on-4, which is now full.”
More than 120 players signed up in a three week period that registration was open for the Novice, Atom, and PeeWee divisions. He says this shows the demand’s there to keep skating between the end of the season and tryouts and before summer sports start.
“It’s a good fit. I think a lot of families see the value in it,” Waters said.
This league isn’t an attempt to keep kids playing hockey year-round, like some sports. Rather, he says this will just be for fun and won’t be instructional hockey like they’d experience on their other teams. The teams will play twice a week from April 7 to April 30 at the Woolwich Memorial Centre.
“We wanted to provide a fun environment for players,” Waters said. “A lot of players that might not get to play with their buddy in the winter because he’s playing for a different team, you actually can request a friend to play with. So we’re trying to make the teams to accommodate those requests. It’s fun and there’ll only be eight to 10 players on a team so they’ll get lots of ice team and it’s an opportunity to go out there and have fun with your friends.”
He says they modeled the 4-on-4 league off of other associations who’ve done this. They chose 4-on-4 instead of 5-on-5 because this way everyone gets lots of time to play. He expects the league will grow next year, as other spring leagues have done.
“It’s not just for Woolwich Minor Hockey players,” Waters added. “I know we do have players from other associations that go to school with some of these guys that’ll have the opportunity to play with them in a fun environment.”