Valley Ball Hockey Association (VBHA) was busy rounding up old equipment and new players at George Preston Recreation Centre on Sunday.
Craig McDougall, VBHA president, said this was the third year that the organization accepted used equipment that was still in good condition, just no longer being used.
“Existing players with equipment that might not fit anymore or ones that aren’t playing can bring there equipment to us because gear is expensive,” McDougall said. “And we get brand new kids asking ‘do I need equipment?’ We can match them up with whatever they need.”
VBHA also had brand new items for sale at a reduced price, most of it also with the organization logo printed on the material.
McDougall said people had been coming in all morning long to drop off a wide variety of equipment.
“We had one kid come in and say he wanted to be a goalie and we were able to match him up with gloves, pads, and all the goalie gear,” McDougall recounted. “Their eyes were as wide as saucers as he said ‘you mean this is all free?’ You can bet he’s at home right now practising in the street.”
Sunday was a chance for players of any experience level to come sign up or simply see what the sport is all about.
VBHA has been an operating non-profit society for 23 years and has more than 1,200 members in Langley, Aldergrove, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack – all between the ages of 4 to 19.
Kristen Scott brought her 13-year-old son Kayden to sign up for his seventh year playing on a VBHA team; he first started playing because of his older brother.
“I play defense” Kayden said, lending the advice that interested players should start young to give themselves enough time to improve and build skill.
“It’s quite a community game,” his mom added. “He’s [Kayden] made friends from the team. It’s a short season, but a great way to get exercise after staying still for most of the winter.”
17-year-old Bryan Koffman said what’s been bringing him back for the past 10 years is absolutely the friends and the exercise.
“I’m not the best player,” he was quick to point out, “but the game is so quick, and I know it sounds bad, but your always going to better than somebody else.”
VBHA’s season runs from the beginning April to the end of June, with typically one game every week.
McDougall said before spring, player evaluations will begin to sort which player goes where based on their skills.
With ball hockey leagues all over the Lower Mainland and even B.C., he added that there are many tournaments and chances to play different teams – culminating in a provincial championship at the start of summer.
Both registration and equipment donations are still going on long after the in-person event wraps at George Preston. People can visit www.vhha.com to find out more information and to enroll.
People can also contact McDougall through the webpage, who said he will collect knee-pads, helmets, and anything else ball hockey related through the season – all of which he personally stores at his house.
“I like to have as much as I can of hand and bring it to practise so if kid says they don’t have something, I can take a look at what I’ve got,” McDougall said.
Ball hockey games and practices take place around Langley at George Preston, Langley Events Centre, and in Aldergrove Athletic Park.
”The association is big on making sure anyone that wants to join can come play,” he added. “It’s about doing some good and getting kids into sports.”
Is there more to this story?