January 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 2
CNP Minor Hockey in full swing and celebrating Minor Hockey Week
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Coaches: Cindy Sant, Matt Herman, John Hawkins
Back: Austen Crombie, Drake Davis, Makenzie Herman, Gavin Samuel
Front: Sophie Gibboney-Stafford, Ashton Castellarin, Benji Harris, Johnny Hawkins,
Ryder Jorgensen, Alex Uhersky
Pass Herald Reporter
The Crowsnest Pass Minor Hockey regular season is in full swing, with the teams in the home stretch of league play. Provincials playoffs kick off this month with the tournament taking in March whereas league playoffs will start in February.

“It’s been an incredibly busy year,” says Bill Wilmot, president of Crowsnest Pass Minor Hockey. “There were lots of changes this year in all of our levels.”

This year marks the first time that the Novice, Atom, Peewee and Bantam teams play in the Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL). The teams played in the Spud Hockey League in previous years, which encompasses Lethbridge and surrounding area.

“It’s a new league for all of our kids, coaches and parents and executives,” says Wilmot. “We only had a little taste of that last year when we had a joint team with Pincher Creek, but this year, our whole association belongs to the Central Alberta Hockey League.”

In the CAHL, Crowsnest Pass plays teams as far north as Airdrie and Rockyford. “It’s basically all of southern Alberta. It’s quite a huge leap,” says Wilmot. “There are well over 400 teams in all the divisions combined.”
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For CNP hockey, that means games against teams that they’ve never played before and a lot of traveling.

“It’s new to us. We’re travelling well to the north. They tier [the teams] and try to give them geographic boundaries, but we’re travelling in the Calgary direction quite a bit,” says Wilmot.

Another change for 2017 is that the pre-novice team gets to play on half-ice. “We had to buy special nets and special dividers for them. We cut the rink in half, so we put one goal centralized and one goal where it usually is,” says Wilmot. “It makes a lot of sense because we’re expecting these little guys to play in the exact same equipment that the NHL players put on. I think it’s a lot more appropriate for their size.”

Wilmot says he’s proud of the teams’ performance so far, which all placed in “middle-of-the-road” Tier 5.

“For the most part, they play very competitive games,” he says. “A lot of our teams are quite small in numbers. You’ll look at those rosters and if you compare, we’ve got 10 or 11 kids playing against teams of 15, 16. So they do really well.”
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The novice team is currently tied with Siksika for sixth place with three wins and four losses. Both atoms and bantam are tied for second place with Kainai and Rockyford, respectively. Peewees, struggling a bit, are in fifth place with one win, seven losses and one tie.

Branden Anctil, who plays for novice, has accumulated 35 points with 27 goals and 8 assists, ranking him third for scoring in his tier.

According to Wilmot, the CNP Minor Hockey Association has already started thinking about this year’s Thunder Challenge, the yearly fundraising event that takes place in September.

“We invite Kootenay Ice, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Calgary Hitmen. They come down and play three hockey games against each other,” he says. “Local businesses are always very generous. The teams really enjoy coming down here and everyone in town gets to watch really high-level hockey.”

Wilmot adds that CNP Minor Hockey is always looking for new players, and they try hard to keep registration costs as low as possible.
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January 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 2
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