The Columbia Valley Rockies are putting in a gruelling month. Twelve games in 29 days, including three weekends during which they played three games each. Two of those weekends on the road. Translation: nine games in 17 days. They’ve played some great hockey during those games.
There have also been many changes to the team during this transitional month. All teams in the league are starting to finalize their lineups during November and the trickle-down effect takes place — Junior A teams make cuts and players become available to B teams.
When the team took to the ice last Friday night at the Eddie, there were five players in the lineup who weren’t on the team during their last home game on October 24th. And there was another new player in town waiting for a tryout who didn’t dress last weekend.
That’s more than a 20 per cent turnover, so there is a lot more adjusting and assimilating to be done. It is happening though; and it’s a real treat to talk to the players and feel the excitement and confidence building in them.
They are looking around the dressing room and saying, “Man, we have some great players here — we have an awesome team!” That sense of assurance and trust is quickly translating into points on the scoreboard and wins in the stats.
It’s also reinforcing the reason why these young men play the game.
When you ask most of them what they love about hockey, the answer more often than not is the relationships they develop and the fun they have with their teammates.
Although many of them would love to make hockey their livelihood, they are mostly realists who know it’s a very small percentage of players who are able to make their living playing this game. Some are fortunate enough to earn their education by playing their sport, but most do it for the sheer joy of being part of a team and creating the lifelong friendships that result.
From a local fan perspective, we’ve got a lot to look forward to. With only two team members born in 1994 and five in 1995, this is a young team with a great opportunity to mature and grow together over the coming seasons.
Marilyn Berry contributes a bi-weekly column regarding the Columbia Valley Rockies and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.