The Campbell River Minor Hockey president hopes to see the community come together with Hometown Hockey after two difficult years in the sport.
Stewart Dumont says hockey teams in Campbell River were poised to do well in provincials before the pandemic began. However, the door was shut and difficult changes were soon to follow.
“We really didn’t have hockey,” he says. “We started a season, got three or four games in, and basically just went back to just practice only because of the cohort regulations and such.”
He says it was a struggle to keep kids interested and people weren’t sure about being on the teams during the pandemic. He also says the strike at the local rink caused a difficult situation for hockey in the town.
“That lasted 10 weeks, so that was just to add fuel to the flame as far as what we had to deal with,” he added.
However, Dumont is encouraged by Hometown Hockey coming to the area. While he says April is a difficult time as baseball season starts, the events planned will hopefully draw out the crowds.
He says the community’s passion for hockey survived the two-year ordeal and came back strong after the strike at the rink.
“The thing that really was heartwarming for Campbell River was that once the strike ended and the regulations got dropped we were able to hold a provincial tournament,” he says.
“We had a couple teams that had very successful playoff runs. It was really almost a resurgence back to the Tyee hockey that we’ve come to know.”
He says Hometown Hockey now shows that “hockey’s back” and will be a great night for the Monday night broadcast with the Vancouver Canucks game.
Games that will be featured include road hockey and hardest shot and other prizes will be given out. He hopes the community and its history will be shown at the event.
“I just think it’s a nice showcase for hockey in this community and it shows off our volunteerism and I think it’s a nice thing,” said Dumont. “We have a rich hockey history.”
He adds that local hockey commentator Kyle Bukaukas will be there for a homecoming.
Hometown Hockey runs in Campbell River from April 16 to 18.