While Canada celebrated the 20th anniversary of Hockey Day in Canada from Yellowknife, Bradford West Gwillimbury was busy celebrating the 12th anniversary of our local Hockey Day at Bud Brown Park in Bond Head.
The sun was out, and the day was perfectly cold for great ice as players from the BWG Minor Hockey Association IP and Minor Novice teams met on the outdoor rinks for a fun filled celebration of our national winter sport.
The day started early with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Bond Head Lions Club before eight teams of the youngest players, the five and six-year-olds from the Initiation Program (IP), headed out to the ice to play hockey and have fun.
The games started with BWG Mayor, Rob Keffer; BWGMHA President, Paul Dossey; and BWG Coun. Gary Baynes dropping the puck as two young players faced off.
Eight IP teams played through the morning and four Minor Novice teams in the afternoon, with players enjoying a post-games medal ceremony with presentations from the mayor and Council of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
“It’s a great day in Canada when we can play hockey outdoors,” said BWG Deputy Mayor, James Leduc.
“We have a great little tournament here with our novice kids playing but the big thing about today is that everybody wins. The parents are excited about this, it’s a great opportunity to play hockey and enjoy an outdoor day and it’s good exercise for the kids,” said Leduc.
With lows dipping down to -15˚C, the Bond Head Community Centre was a great place to warm up, with hockey related indoor games and face painting by Bling Face Painting throughout the day.
“We’ve got about 140 kids that will be playing in the outdoor games,” said Dossey.
“It gives them a chance to play outside. These kids have never had to play outside like I did, but today they get to, and they look forward to it,” he continued.
Right now, there are about 600 kids playing minor hockey in Bradford.
“It’s life skills that you build. You get to be a member of a team; you learn to deal with the good things and the bad things. We’ve got really good coaches in the association that the kids can look up to, who can be mentors, and not just teach them about hockey, but about life,” explained Dossey.
To participate, volunteer or sponsor a team, the BWG Minor Hockey Association can be contacted through their website here.