David Simoes is hoping to draw more youth to the game of hockey.
The new president of the Vanderhoof Minor Hockey Association wants to focus on kids of all ages who may have been away from the sport for some time.
“It doesn’t have to be competitive, but we just want to figure out ways to get those kids back engaged,” he said.
“With all the screen time that we have, it’s extremely important for our society to get kids active again.”
Simoes previously served as the association’s vice-president before being elected president at their annual general meeting held online Thursday, April 8
He has coached minor hockey for the past five years, and in 2019 launched a local hockey breakfast club in which 16 to 18 youth consistently came out this year to get some exercise.
“Hockey is definitely a passion for me, and I do spend a lot of time researching and listening to different podcasts and seeing what is up to date,” Simoes said.
The Vanderhoof resident who has five children also played professionally in the Central Hockey League, British Columbia Hockey League and in the United States.
“I’m really excited to share my passion a little bit more so we can hopefully get more kids to sign up in Vanderhoof.”
Early bird registration for the new season is available until July 15.
Free registration fees for first-time Bear hockey players in the U7 and U9 divisions is being offered as well as half-price registration for first-time Bear hockey players in the U11 division.
New this year is a half-season option from September to December and/or January to March for U7 and U9 divisions.
While COVID-19 disrupted games from being held last season, Simoes said the association saw successful numbers at all their practices and was fortunate to have a great bunch of coaches who kept it light and fun.
“Moving into this next season here, we’re definitely, like everyone else, extremely optimistic that things will be back to somewhat normal.”