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The Greater Metro Hockey League (GMHL) is looking to bring Junior A hockey to Beaverlodge and has requested a commitment from the town council for a guarantee on ice time.
On Monday night at the regular meeting of council, a package from the GMHL stirred enthusiasm around the council table.
Council has directed town administration to gather more information from the league and report back.
“This is very exciting,” said Coun. Gena Jones.
“What if this is the new surge that we have to unite the community?” asked Coun. Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus.
“I think it would be a very good thing for Beaverlodge,” said Jones.
She said that previous teams such as the Junior B Blades (disbanded in 2018) brought more people to town and provided numerous opportunities to the young people of Beaverlodge.
The GMHL is looking to expand and has identified Beaverlodge as a town with the ability to host a Junior A team after a facility review that also looked at population data and the community’s long-standing history of hockey support.
Derek Prue, executive director at GMHL West, said that a Junior A league would bring a higher level of hockey than enjoyed under the Blades up until 2018.
That higher level will require more ice time as the players will be on the ice almost every day.
“We pay whatever the negotiated ice rates are,” said Prue.
“We don't come to any communities looking for money or capital expense or anything like that.”
The league would be bringing in players from all over the world, along with coaches, he said.
“We have 21 home games every year, plus pre-season and playoffs, so you can expect to see some, some top level hockey, but also the players are very active in the community,” he said.
The games are full of entertainment as they bring mascots, giveaways, craft tables for kids, and a high level of hockey on the ice, said Prue.
Along with more entertainment, the GMHL has a national championship that will see the east take on the west, with the opportunity for a team to put a bid in to host the national championship, he said.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News