Its nice to wake up from the winter, let the sunshine come in and think of what this year is bringing us in the way of minor ball hockey across the country. After the past couple of years of ‘off the floor issues in the east’ with non CBHA Associations, the Ontario Ball Hockey Federation (a provincial member of the CBHA) is gaining ground with more associations coming on board in Minor, Men’s and Women’s. Hats off to them for hosting a great 2013 Junior Nationals in Oakville, Ontario where we saw provinces represented from coast to coast. This being the final high level tourney of 2013, it gave scouts the chance to solidify 66 spots on the three Junior Team Canada rosters for this year. True national teams have been put together with players from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland along with 20 staff members from across the country.
To kick off the 2014 schedule, our Junior Team Canada Program is sending U16, U18 and U20 squads to compete in the 2014 World Junior Ball Hockey Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia. As I have been a part of the JTC since 2008 and this will be my fourth year attending Junior Worlds , I have to say the host organizers from Slovakia have done an amazing job at making this a first class event, and the facilities are the best I have seen for the Junior Worlds. In addition, Czech Republic has always had an open door for our Canadian Teams. This will be the third time in 5 years that we hold the JTC Training Camps for a week prior to the tournament in the fantastic city of Plzen, Czech Republic. As we get closer to the world event, its amazing to see all the countries coming on board, making this the largest Junior Worlds in one host city ever. Participants from Canada, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Great Britain, USA and the host is in talks with Hungary and Israel about attending. The event is under one roof and just a short tram ride from tourist attractions and city squares in historic Bratislava.
In mid July, we turn our focus to the west, as Langley, BC will be the host city of the 2014 Western Challenge Cup. The WCC has had many Association rep teams compete in five age groups (U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19) from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba over the years. With over 35 teams participating in this event, the level of play is high and is always a main event where JTC scouts attend. Langley has hosted this event in the past and is a very nice city with many amenities for a great stay and family vacation.
To finish off this great year, Winnipeg, Manitoba will be the host of the 2014 Junior Nationals the August long weekend. Manitoba in its short time as a minor association member with the CBHA has grown dramatically not only in members but in respect of highly skilled players and coaching staffs. Along with a great feeder Adults league, Manitoba is on the map as a strong competing province in the minor group. Knowing their great organization and board members, I truly can see another solid Junior National event coming together.
To all minor ball hockey players of all ages I wish you all a fun ball hockey season, and as you all grow to the age groups where high level tournaments are held, I look forward to seeing the stars of tomorrow continue to growth in this sport. For the current participants of these events coming up, I wish you all the best for a safe, exciting and competitive ball hockey year. Always be proud in what you achieve for your city, province and country associations.
CBHA High Performance Minor Director
For more information on registering minor players and teams in a sanctioned CBHA league please contact firstname.lastname@example.org