The North Island U11 (Atom) Eagles hold their sticks in the air after winning an exhibition game on Saturday against the Comox Valley B Chiefs at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)

The North Island U11 (Atom) Eagles hold their sticks in the air after winning an exhibition game on Saturday against the Comox Valley B Chiefs at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)

North Island minor hockey season officially comes to an end

A minor hockey season like no other has finally come to a close on the North Island.

North Island Eagles minor hockey executive Tanya Spafford issued a thank you on Facebook “to the players, parents, and volunteers that worked hard, stayed positive, and kept showing up every week!” in a season likely to “go on record as the worst season ever.”

Spafford stated they all know being motivated for an entire season is “such a hard thing to do without the excitement of games and we are incredibly proud of the players that continued to give it their all at practices and build their skills.

“So many things could not have been anticipated at the beginning of the season. We knew to expect no tournaments, but to lose games and the ability to watch our kids really stung. Thank you so much for the positive attitudes and respect for the guidelines put in place.”

She added the organization had fewer expenses this season and able to invest in training gear.

“Both arenas have been outfitted with a fantastic dryland set up, and Micron Machine Works has finished a prototype of an on-ice training piece that we requested. So new it does not even have a name yet! We were unable to use this equipment this season but took the chance to build up our on and off ice tools. These will be a great addition to next season.”

The Eagles will also be offering a $100 credit towards next season’s tryout fees.

“This may not seem like a lot, but it is almost $10,000 given back to our families as appreciation for being part of our club this season,” Spafford said. “As many of you are aware, we are fortunate enough to have some of the lowest hockey fees in the rep program and we off-set the expenses with the club fundraisers. Thankfully, we will be able to give this money back to families to alleviate most of the cost of tryouts without adding a financial stress to the club in the future seasons.”

As for Port Hardy Minor Hockey (PHMH), President Nicki Ranger issued a similar Facebook statement to coaches, managers and players.

“You are all rocks stars. To our players: thank you for sticking it out on the ice even though we only managed two games all season. Thank you for keeping a smile on your face under your masks and being positive in the face of constant change! Hockey is awesome, no matter what!”

She then thanked the parents and fans “for sticking with us, for coming out to volunteer from tying skates, selling tickets, being safety or doing covid door duties – we needed you and you delivered!”


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