By Chris Marchand
It’s tough being the only team in town.
As the numbers of Minor Hockey players recede a little each year, Dryden Girls Hockey teams in Dryden find themselves with a single team in their Novice, Atom and Pee Wee divisions.
It begs the obvious question, ‘why bother practicing, if there’s no one else to play against?’.
Dryden Girls Hockey Association President Ed Trist says it’s for this reason that Dryden is looking beyond to surrounding communities who are in the same situation and struggling to keep the sport thriving in their arenas.
“The idea to start up some league play between Dryden and Kenora is an experiment this year,” said Trist. “Kenora’s in a little better shape, they have three teams, but by the end of January they’re bored of playing the same teams. This idea came forth and we’ve implemented regularly scheduled games in hopes of having playoffs and maybe a trophy at the end of the year. Adding other towns to this will just make it more interesting. We just wanted to try it this year and see how it went.”
Trist says the teams have only ever met in exhibition play previously.
While he says there were some initial concerns from some parents about the travel, he says a few away games thus far have tempered some of the misgivings.
“I see it going that way anyhow even with Minor Hockey,” said Trist. “Pretty soon they won’t have enough teams to play each other either. It’s a really good driving force for girls to play because they have something to look forward to — games, playoffs. Both of our associations are hoping to up our numbers by doing this. It just makes it that much more fun and competitive. It’s the start of something that could be good for girls hockey in the region.”
Another first for girls hockey in the northwest will take place in April when the Dryden Girls Hockey Association hosts the first ‘Westy’ Annual 3-on-3 Girls Hockey Tournament — memorializing local hockey figure and rink resident Brad West who recently passed away. All proceeds will be donated to the DREAM committee.