By Mo Cranker
Alberta Newspaper Group
The Foremost Minor Hockey Association is off to yet another strong year and is hoping the success can run through the whole season.
“Things are pretty good so far,” said vice-president Jon Hollingsworth. “We’ve just finished our tiering rounds and we’re moving into our regular season really soon here.”
The Foremost and Bow Island hockey teams combine kids to create full teams — which there’s six of. The teams are fielding around 75 kids from Foremost, Bow Island and the Milk River area.
“When we combine the teams we’re usually right around six,” he said. “It’s an OK number for us to be at.
“We’re hosting a number of tournaments and when we host them we run them out of both arenas, Bow Island and Foremost.
“It’s sometimes hard to get the younger kids from out of town out here and playing.”
Hollingsworth grew up and played hockey in the Foremost area before leaving. He later returned and has been involved in minor hockey for roughly 15 years. He has combining teams with Bow Island is not the ideal situation for anyone.
“We’ve had ups and downs over the years — that’s for sure,” he said. “When I was younger we didn’t have to combine all of the towns into teams, everywhere had their own teams — that’s something we’re facing now for sure.
“For the past 10-12 years it’s something we’ve dealt with and now it’s with the younger kids, too. With that said, there’s a great group of younger kids right now who seem to want to stick with Foremost and that’s a positive.”
Hollingsworth says there’s some really strong talent on the teams this year.
“It sucks when you lose good players to bigger cities, but it shows that there’s a demand for the talent in your league,” he said. “We’re always happy for them when they go to play AA or AAA hockey in bigger cities, but it does hurt our numbers a small amount.
“At the end of the day the kids have to do what’s best for them and going to a bigger city is sometimes what is best — we’re always happy to see them succeed.”
The organization always puts an emphasis on developing players, says Hollingsworth, which is why it holds skills sessions for their players and goalies throughout the year.
“Helping the kids get better is important to us, for sure,” he said. “We’ve got some people coming in to help us help them continue to get better.”