Blades hockey about more than just the game
PRESCOTT - A growing group of hockey enthusiasts from throughout the region have gathered at the Leo Boivin Community Centre on Friday evenings since 2008, sharing a love for the game, getting some exercise, making lifelong friendships and doing some good for the local community while they're at it.
Prescott Blades Co-Ed Hockey League was formed by League President Leanne Burton, who wanted to bring people together to enjoy hockey in a co-ed, adult league that was focused on getting out and having fun, as opposed to strict regulations and competition.
"It's all in the name of fun. We don't track points and standings...and anyone who wants to play is more than welcome to try it out. We have everything from highly skilled players to players who hadn't put on a pair of skates in their life; everyone is welcome. When we started the league in 2008, we only had four teams, now we have six teams and 90 players in the league, and an ever-growing waiting list!" said Burton.
The league will host its first ever tournament this year, and are hoping to have eight teams participate in the two-day event, to be held in Prescott March 17-18.
"We're really excited about the tournament. It's something we've thought about before and are going to try it this year. It gives a chance for some people who aren't in the regular league to play and people to meet some new friends and try something new," said Burton.
The six teams in the league are sponsored by local businesses, including O'Heaphy's Irish Pub and MacEwens C-Store in Prescott. The sponsors cover the costs of team jerseys, as well as providing monetary support to the league to cover the costs refereeing, ice rental and registration costs.
"Our sponsors are so important to the league. Thanks to them, being a part of this league is affordable for anyone who wants to play. We're thankful to be able to work with some really wonderful local business owners," said Burton of the significant role sponsors play in the league.
The players in Prescott Blades have gained more than some athletic skills and a way to burn a few calories once a week. The league has created many friendships along the way.
"My motto has always been that it's not about how many goals are scored, but how many friendships are scored. The evolution of the league has been amazing. It's really moved beyond the ice and become a group of friends and family. We do a Christmas party, a year-end banquet, we design a float and participate in the Light Up the Night parade every year; we have a lot of fun together on and off the ice," said Burton of the lasting friendships and sense of community born out of the league.
The league also comes together to raise funds and donations towards a variety of local charities and causes, including Jammies for Christmas, the South Grenville Food Bank and Jump Start.
"It's great to be able to have a fun time, socialize and make new friends, get some exercise, and help out the community at the same time," said Burton.
More information on Prescott Blades Co-Ed Hockey League can be found by following them on Facebook.