Flyers on the road again
Hockey: High River arena not available until October
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 10:58 am
The High River Junior B Flyers are hoping their victories on the road will be a good omen for the rest of the Heritage Junior Hockey League season.
The Flyers’ home arena, the Bob Snodgrass Recreation Complex, is still shut down due to the June 20 flood, therefore, High River will have to be the ultimate road warriors in the early going.
“Right now, we got about 20 players and at the start of the training camp we had about 25,” said the Flyers Alex Pronchuk in late September. “We knew with the flood that guys from out of town might not be itching to come play for us because we will be traveling so much.
“Until we are back in the rink, we won’t have a home rink. It’s a battle.”
So far, they are holding their own the battle. They are 2-1 in the early parts of the season, which includes a 6-2 victory over the Okotoks Bisons at the Murray Arena on Friday. Pronchuk had four goals in the victory.
Not bad for at team that had opened camp at the end of August in Strathmore — more than an hour away from their home ice in High River.
“We were hoping to get some players out of the Strathmore area but that didn’t really come to fruition,” said Flyers president Bill Holmes. “So Blackie Arena is kind of our home base until the High River arena is ready.”
Holmes said he was disappointed with the low number of players at training camp.
“We need defence and we need some offensive players,” Holmes said.
“We don’t know if it is because people think we got flooded out that we aren’t participating. We have actually contacted our league to let them know if the Flyers aren’t strong, then the league isn’t strong.
“The league has already lost Strathmore.”
He said the Flyers’ off-season recruiting has been hampered because their board and coaching staff has had to deal with their flooded homes and trying to fix businesses.
“People are busy trying to get their lives in order,” Holmes said. “Hockey is just one minor piece of the puzzle.”
Holmes said the Flyers also aren’t about to hit up their sponsors, which have given generously to the program in the past.
“We would never ask some of the businesses who have been hit as hard as those in High River if they mind giving us some money for this recreational program,” Holmes said. “What we are doing is if a business wants to advertise, we will put their business cards in our program and on our website for free.”
He said if businesses are interested in sponsoring, such as on the boards when the arena is ready, the Flyers would welcome the support.
Holmes said during the busy show ‘n’ shine in High River on Sunday, he did have several people approach him about potential sponsoring of the lone Junior team in High River.
Okotoks Bisons general manager Jay McFarlane said he has always recommended the Flyers’ organization to players they have released.
“Our number one goal is to keep kids playing hockey and within our league if we can,” McFarlane said.
“I have had great relationships with the Flyers’ management. If players are looking at Okotoks and aren’t successful, High River is just 15 minutes away and an obvious choice.”
However, none of the cut players from around the league joined the Flyers.
“You take what we can get,” Holmes said. “We’re playing with the deck that was dealt us. It’s been great chemistry on the team.”
Pronchuk stressed the Flyers will hold their own, regardless of whether they receive any new players.
High River’s first scheduled game at the Bob Snodgrass Recreation Complex is Oct. 18.
The league waived High River’s registration fees for the 2013-14 season. It has also tried to donate equipment to players who lost gear in the flood.
For more information go to www.highriverflyers.com