There will be a different feel this winter at the Bashaw rink.
The Bashaw Minor Hockey Association (BMHA) has added a team to its roster for the season to go along with a change in which league they play in.
Kristy Lourance, BMHA communications director, explained there will be one team in each of five divisions this season — Initiation, Novice, Atom, Peewee and now Bantam.
“We have bantam back for the first time a couple years,” she said, adding they hoped to have a midget team as well.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough players registered so many of them went to Forestburg, similar to last year, and I’m not certain as to where the rest ended up.”
While an increase in teams is a good sign, it also means attempting to track down enough adults to get behind the bench, something Lourance admitted has been a bit more of a challenge this fall.
“In a small community such as Bashaw, most of the parents and adults that coach are farmers or perform shift work,” she stated.
“That means we need more than the normal compliment of coaches so there is at least a few available for every game and practice. So, instead of the usual two or three, we are busy trying to get four or five for each team.”
To date, BMHA is still searching to fill a few spots and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Meanwhile, all of the teams will be able to benefit from a new venture this season courtesy of a former player.
Dallas Bergstrom, whose four years as a defenseman in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Camrose Kodiaks ended two years ago, has offered himself up to provide some assistance.
“We are lucky to have Dallas offer to be available as a coaching consultant and he will also be available as a roving coach for our teams as needed,” Lourance stated.
“In addition, he will be holding special clinics and helping at various practices throughout the season. We are certainly grateful to have his expertise and knowledge through what is definitely a unique situation for us.”
Practices have been underway for a couple weeks now, with the ice going in near the end of September, meaning the first tiering games for the teams novice to bantam starting Oct. 14.
Things are just a bit different this season, as the BMHA is now in the 16-60 League after the North Central folded at the end of last season.
“We are still involved in the interlock schedule like last year, the only real difference will be seeing a few new places and teams, especially come playoff time,” she said.
Lourance did state the BMHA is looking into putting in a bid to host provincial championship, quite likely to be in the bantam division.