The time has come for the Town of Paradise to have its own minor hockey associaton, and a group of volunteers is in the process of making it happen.
Andrea Byrne is a spokesperson for about a half dozen people who are working diligently to put things in place with the hope of make the association a reality by the fall when a new arena opens in town.
The facility, located on McNamara Drive, will have twin ice surfaces (standard size of 85 feet by 200 feet) with the total seating area to hold approximately 900 people.
Byrne said the group has lots of work to do before making an official application at Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador’s (HNL) annual meeting in June, where the motion will be voted on. That includes a 30 days notice of the motion.
“It’s not automatic and there are several things and details that have to be in place before HNL gives us approval,” said Byrne.
“We had our initial meeting with HNL in February. There was a public meeting at which time they provided us with the details of what we needed to do and how to get it started. That sort of thing,” explained Byrne.
The details include having an election of officers to put a board of directors in place. The new association also needs to be incorporated with a constitution and bylaws.
“That’s all in the works,” noted Byrne, who added that sponsorships have to be in place and obvious things like purchasing jerseys for the program which will include players from ages four or five to 17 or 18.
There are about 1,100 minor hockey players in Conception Bay South where Paradise is zoned right now,” explained Byrne.
“About 65 per cent of those players are Paradise residents.”
Currently, minor hockey players from Paradise play in the CBR Minor Hockey Associaton, while some are skating in the Mount Pearl, Goulds, Southern Shore, Torbay or St. John’s systems.
Byrne said the time is right for Paradise to have its own association given its growth.
With a population of approximately 19,500, the town bills itself as Atlantic Canada’s fastest-growing municipality.
Two new elementary schools have opened in the past two or three years.
“The benefits far outweigh any negatives,” said Byrne of establishing the new association. “I’m optimistic it will happen.”
Byrne said the group’s feeling is that the Town of Paradise is fully behind the idea but, just in case, they are trying to find out exactly how much interest and support they have by doing an on-line poll.
Those interested should Google the Town of Paradise and click on the box, “Take The Survey; Minor Hockey In Paradise”