Nanaimo’s 75 years of hockey quite a milestone

It’s amazing that this year marks the 75th anniversary of hockey in our city. The Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association marked the occasion.

Nanaimo Clippers midget Tier 1 player Brendan Jennings

Nanaimo Clippers midget Tier 1 player Brendan Jennings

The excitement of Christmas has come and gone and before you know it here we are halfway through January of another year. Time flies when you’re having fun, but even so it’s hard for me to believe it was 35 years ago this month that I first started producing this weekly local sports column.

It has been fun and hopefully can continue for a while longer. And that said, let me start this new year by offering best wishes to all faithful readers for good health and happiness in 2015.

On the subject of time passing, it’s also amazing that this year marks the 75th anniversary of hockey in our city. The Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association marked the occasion in style this past Saturday with a special Hockey Day in Nanaimo.

There was just one team all those years ago, a juvenile squad that played in the brand new Civic Arena, built in 1939-40. Things expanded quickly after that, with Nanaimo Minor Hockey becoming a society in the 1950s and the number of teams has increased to nearly 60 today. Along the way many titles have been brought to our city and numerous players even made it to the professional ranks. Today Nanaimo Minor Hockey has a top-notch development program for all players, including power skating, goaltending clinics, coaching seminars and training for officials.

The president of the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association this year is Jamie Davis, taking over from past president Roberta Bortolotto. Dawn Borelli is the player registrar, Kyla Becia the secretary-treasurer and Vicky Long the office administrator.

Also on the board of directors are Jennifer Pow, Tom Russell, Greg Cornforth, Mike Sexton, Jody Windley, Dave Bortolotto, Steve Paul, Dave Boehm, Eadie Whitford, Janelle Olson, Yvette McKay, Kim Darbyshire, Angela Vandepeear, Christie MacDonald and Nicole Sugiyama-Trenholm.

It was my pleasure to take in some of the action at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Saturday and to watch local hockey legend Les Mitchell drop the puck at the official opening of the feature game. My congratulations go to all the organizers of the event, especially Tom Russell and Vicky Long. They and other volunteers put on a very successful event.

One of the feature games at NIC involved the Nanaimo midget Tier 1 squad, taking on Juan de Fuca. On the local team were players Jackson Davis, Haydn Sitler, Seamus O’Toole, Cody Blanchard, Beau Carter-Movold, Tyce Morelli, Benjamin Fridriksson, Tyler Sexton, Cole Johnson, Kyle May, Max Creighton, Dade Beaudry-Young, Brennen Savage, Colton Broda, Austin Marling, Cole Manns, Brendan Jennings, Joshua Mitchell and Brandon Roberge. Head coach is Gerry Bickerton, with assistant coaches Colin Dyck, Chris Lennox, Cory Russell, Martin Borelli and Jamie Wood.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.