Isaiah Therrien skates down the ice with the Port Hardy Bantam Hawks. (Nicki Ranger photo)

Isaiah Therrien skates down the ice with the Port Hardy Bantam Hawks. (Nicki Ranger photo)

Port Hardy Minor Hockey aims to grow amidst COVID-19 pandemic

'As a parent, I'm just excited my son's getting a chance to play'

Despite COVID-19 causing numerous issues this season, Port Hardy Minor Hockey is determined to grow.

“We have a new executive this year and we have some long term goals about rebuilding and revitalizing Port Hardy Minor Hockey and making it more visible in the community,” says Nicki Ranger, president of Port Hardy Minor Hockey. “We’re going to be looking at building our hockey program by having an annual minor hockey day in November where the kids will be out in the community fundraising over the weekend and it will give everyone something to look forward to.”

It hasn’t been an easy start to season, primarily thanks to COVID-19. Port Hardy Minor Hockey has been having a bit of a struggle so far this year with registration being quite low.

“Registration has been declining in Port Hardy over the last few years, but specifically this year as we have only 63 players registered to play when normally we would have about 130 players,” noted Ranger.

There will be no Port Hardy Midget Hawks team hitting the ice due to lack of numbers, so the midget-age players have been assigned to play with the bantams.

“Because of COVID-19 we have also had to make a number of changes,” stated Ranger. “One being that we have developed, with the help of Tri-Port Minor Hockey, a fairly comprehensive plan that dictates what players are to be doing when they arrive to the arena, where they are to be in the arena at all times, and who’s allowed in the arena and who’s not allowed in the arena.”

They also have to abide by the arena facility’s guidelines that have been put in place, and all parents are required to take a COVID-19 return to safe play course that is dictated by BC Hockey.

No spectators are allowed in the arena at this time, only designated volunteers with proper identification.

“As a parent, I’m just excited my son’s getting a chance to play, and if that means I have to drop him off and pick him up again, I’m okay with that,” stated Ranger, who added Port Hardy Minor Hockey will continue to soldier on with two practices a week as per usual, and there will be games held on the weekend against Port McNeill Minor Hockey starting Nov. 7-8.

There will not be any tournaments held this year, and all players will only play for one team in a cohort model, so there will be no switching of teams allowed.

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North Island Gazette