The West Ferris Minor Hockey Association and the North Bay Minor Hockey Association have entered into an agreement on a proposed amalgamation that would take effect for the 2019-2020 hockey season. The amalgamation is pending approval of membership at a Special Meeting on April 24th, 2019. It will be held at the Best Western on Lakeshore Drive at 6pm.
North Bay’s largest hockey association, with more than 900 members, is going to get even bigger with the amalgamation of the Hockey for Beginner Program.
West Ferris Minor Hockey will be assuming the responsibility and implementation of the highly successful beginner program this fall.
Scott Kile, lead instructor for Hockey for Beginners and First Vice President of North Bay Minor Hockey, was one of the volunteers who saw the value of the program and stepped up to take it over from the former parks and recreation department in 2001.
“We started with 87 kids and have expanded the program to more than 180 per season with a waiting list of 40,” he said.
“We take these children from not being able to stand upright on their skates, to skating, to learning the fundamentals of the game to getting them hooked onto the sport.”
In the last 18 years the Hockey for Beginner Program has helped developed more than 3,000 hockey players.
“Amalgamating with West Ferris Minor Hockey will make the process from Hockey for Beginners to their final year of Novice a complete flow from start to finish under one umbrella,” Kile said.
“We feel having two competing programs isn’t healthy for minor hockey. We have 12 coaches who have committed to continue operating the beginner program under the leadership of West Ferris Minor Hockey.”
West Ferris Minor Hockey would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers and coaches for their dedication and commitment.
“It’s programs like Hockey for Beginners that introduce kids to the greatest game on ice and gives them a taste of a Canadian tradition in an environment that focuses on fun and development,” said Matt Duquette, Secretary with WFMHA. “It aligns with our commitment to the Canadian Tire First Shift Program which has introduced hockey to 105 children aged 6 to 10 in the last 2 years.”
As the association continues to grow, the West Ferris Board of Directors is looking to make some important changes to put North Bay on the map and celebrate its long history of success, as well, it’s the ability to compete among the best in the province.
The board has also proposed to change the name of West Ferris Minor Hockey Association to the North Bay Minor Hockey Association as part of the amalgamation.
“The name change will allow our teams to identify with the City of North Bay when representing us outside of our area. There is a deep rooted respect to the history of our Association. We are deeply indebted to all of the volunteers who made West Ferris Minor Hockey the association that it is today.” said WFMHA President Darrell Pitman.
“The change will simply reflect the great city we live in and provide an opportunity for hockey players of all levels to represent North Bay locally, provincially and nationally.”