By Greg Price
As the Taber Recreation Board continues its push to town council about recommending renovation for the deteriorating small ice at the Taber Arena at a $1.5 million price tag, it was revealed at its October meeting that one less ice user group will be using the large ice, starting next year.
“With user group numbers and how they have changed with hockey groups, has that changed anything?” inquired John Turcato, M.D. of Taber councillor and representative for the Taber Recreation Board at its Oct. 4 meeting.
Aline Holmen, director of recreation for the Town of Taber replied to Turcato, noting Taber will be losing its Golden Suns ‘AA” program next year.
“That will open up some ice on the large ice, but won’t affect the small ice. From what I’ve been told, the province is doing regional centres, so it will be either Lethbridge or Medicine Hat that Taber kids go try out at. They’ll have three teams that way and it will free up some ice,” said Holmen of the fate of the ‘AA’ peewee, bantam and midget programs. “But I don’t foresee that changing the small ice at all. It may increase your Taber Minor Hockey numbers for kids who don’t want to have to travel out of town that much. For instance, you have one midget hockey team, and now you might have two.”
Turcato replied you may see the opposite, as the ‘AA’’ program drew outside kids from Taber to the program.
“It’s a numbers game where if they run a type of program that allows that. It depends on how programs are run. Lethbridge has run programs in the past where they only allow four or five import players,” said Turcato.
“But, I imagine Alberta Hockey is setting new rules so they don’t have to do that. That is where the ‘AA’s came from was because of that, they were limiting numbers in certain centres. There were higher-end players with no place to play. That’s always been a problem, because you can’t tell a community how to run their program.”