Leslie Rowse photoAaron Konecsni of Kelowna instructs Williams Lake Minor Hockey players last week during a power skating skill development camp hosted to help kick off the season for WLMHA players as they prepare to start their seasons.

WLMHA striding into season with camps, tryouts

It's been a busy start to the season for the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association.

It’s been a busy start to the season for the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association.

Players are finding homes on their respective house teams, while rep tryouts are getting underway this week at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

WLMHA president Todd Isnardy said a power skating and coaching session led by Kelowna’s Aaron Konecsni of AK Hockey — a hockey skating and skill development company — was a phenomenal way for players, and coaches to get back in the hockey groove.

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“It was really exciting bringing him in,” Isnardy said. “I took part in the coaching seminar and ice time he put on and it was great, and the basics he works on were absolutely awesome, so it was really exciting to be a part of. I know a lot of guys I talked to that were completely and utterly excited about it, and it was really great to be able to offer it not only to our plyaers but to our coaching staff and the entire organization.”

Rep tryouts, meanwhile, are underway, with players vying for spots on what will be seven rep teams within the WLMHA this season, Isnardy said.

Currently players are trying out for peewee, bantam and midget — both male and female teams — and for atom development.

While a strong group of players have been rising up the ranks through their own age groups, Isnardy said the association is facing some challenges with players moving on to teams out of town, or to newly-created BC Hockey zone teams based out of Prince George.

“You’re always happy for players when they get an opportunity to move on, but we’ve had about eight males leave our midget rep team, and one or two for the zone team,” he said. “It’s exciting to see that we’re putting out that level of player, but it can be tough.”

Additionally, six players from last year’s 2017/18 Midget Female Championship Williams Lake Timberwolves will be playing for the Female Midget AAA Northern Capitals of Prince George this season.

BC Hockey’s new zone teams, both bantam and midget, have been developed as a way to feed players into the major midget hockey system (primarily the Cariboo Cougars for the north).

“They have two zone teams — a midget zone team in Prince George for anyone in our region to try out for, and a bantam one, as well,” he said.

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“So until our season starts we never know what we’ve got for rep numbers, so we’ll see what we end up with.”

That said, he added he’d like to wish all the players in the association a great season, and said he’s looking forward to another fun year of hockey.

“I know when I was playing midget rep hockey it’s absolutely the time of your life,” he said. “You’re with your friends, and all these kids are having a great time and that’s what we want to strive to provide is the best thing we can for those kids.”

“We need to offer the best possible product we can for the players who are playing in Williams Lake through good coaching, bringing in things like the power skating, to provide the best possible product we can for our players.”

Coming up first in a long list of scheduled WLMHA tournaments will be the bantam/midget female tournament scheduled for Oct. 26-28 featuring four teams in each division.

For more on the WLMHA visit its website at www.wlmha.ca.

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