By COLIN FARRELL
Special to the Wreckhouse Weekly
PORT AUX BASQUES – The past year has not been without its share of challenges for sports associations across the province, but one such club has been recognized by Hockey NL for their commitment to the players and the sport. Earlier this month, the Channel Port aux Basques Minor Hockey Association (PABMH) was named Minor Association of the Year.
“The award is designed to recognize (an) association or club every year for their significant contribution to Hockey (NL’s) programs and commitments, to improve their own association within their community,” explained PABMH association member Monique Organ.
She explained that the association has been committed to developing fair play throughout the program to ensure all players get the same opportunities, ice time, and coaching to help ensure healthy skill development.
“Our association was able to provide two free goalie (clinics) this year with a trained goalie… We were really proud (that) we were able to do that for the kids.”
Given the unique challenges that come with goaltending, not all players have access to training sessions to teach them the necessary skills.
While the award came as a surprise to PABMH, Organ said that it is very rewarding to see the association rewarded for their efforts.
While greatly appreciated, association members do not sign on in hopes of any kind of recognition.
“They do it ’cause they want to do it. They do it for the love of the sport…For the engagement of the kids, to be able to provide that to their community or back to their loved ones,” said Organ.
“You don’t set out to look for these awards. When they come they’re even sweeter because it symbolizes that the time and effort is being recognized by people outside of your own family, or your own friends.”
With the ongoing pandemic, PABMH had to overcome many challenges to keep players on the ice this year, which was only possible when provincial health restrictions eased.
“Our executive and our membership had been asked to put in little bit more of a concentrated effort,” stated Organ, “To be able to get these programs off the ground for our children and be able to have somewhat of a normal year given the different confines and restrictions placed up on us by COVID.”
Organ noted that the association received an outpouring of support from the community, as well as town officials, to help them comply with the regulations and procedures put in place by Hockey NL.
“So through everybody’s joint effort we were able to keep the kids on the ice until sometime in May, so they only ended up losing about a month or so of the season compared to other locations.”