April 11, 2022
To all of the members of the Ice Kats Family,
I wanted to reach out and share my thoughts as I reflect on this past year and the last couple of years leading up to it. We have all endured a lot throughout the Pandemic and it has certainly thrown a monkey wrench into our hockey plans at times over the last two years. From shutdowns, to missed ice times, missed time with your friends and teammates and the inability to finish off seasons as you had planned, there have been many challenges that perhaps seemed insurmountable at times.
However, through all of the ups and downs and the challenges that came, YOU remained focused, committed and dedicated to your dreams and goals. You got out on the ponds, lakes and local outdoor rinks, you showed up to the practices and in-house games that we had with our internal 4 on 4 games both in HL and Rep with heart and a love of the game. You refused to throw in the towel and not work to achieve all you had dreamt of achieving.
In our Houseleague program we saw the continuation of a great tradition of training and games. This past year we ran a local tournament where our Houseleague players competed and fought hard for the title with many of you stating that it was the best tournament you had ever played in! You all deserve a massive round of applause for all of your hard work and efforts throughout the season.
In our Rep program, we saw the challenges of deciding what to do with either pairing up with other centres to form a league or staying in house with a 4 on 4 league that allowed you to show your skills and practice and play at various levels of play. I do believe this set our organization apart from many other centres; many of which chose to shut down entirely or were forced to shut down due to their local access to rinks and ice. This allowed you to stay on the ice several times a week and it fostered a family environment of social connection and a love of the game that you all needed so much in your daily lives.
As the season progressed, we all experienced the sweet taste of victory as well as the challenge of defeat, but through it all – you learned, you grew, and you faced those challenges head on. Many of you played in the Southern League play offs and battled for a spot in the championship circuit. Some of you were fortunate enough to win the league championships.
This past weekend was the culmination of the efforts that so many of you put in. Many of you played in the OWHA provincial championships; with 9 PGHA team representing our organization. I loved every minute of hearing how all of you were doing, getting the updates and sharing them with our community so they too could experience all of the excitement with you. In the end, we had 4 teams who were in medal contention and who fought through the vigorous schedule of 6-7 games in one weekend of play.
To our U15 AA team – your heart, tenacity and drive to excel has been shown time and time again. You won 5 tournaments over the course of this year and came away with the crowning victory of a Provincial Championship which was so well deserved. So many of our younger players have watched you grow though these past years with their own hopes and dreams matched as they live vicariously through your triumphs and defeats. You have been role models for our organization, and we wish all of you the very best as you move forward in your hockey careers.
To our U15 A team – you have all shown a fire and a drive to succeed and you too have come away with a total of 4 gold and 3 silver medals this season. Playing in the Championship game at Provincials is incredible and you fought so hard throughout the whole game. Wear your Silver medals with Pride and always remember the teammates you shared these experiences with – they will be friends for life.
To our U13 AA team – individually you are all skilled, but collectively you are a team of stars. You grew in so many facets of your play and the bond you all share will be one that you hold always. You all grew in leaps and bounds in your development throughout the season and your provincial run is something to be so proud of. Congrats on your fourth-place finish at Provincials and for all of your hard work.
To our U13 A team – the drive and commitment you all displayed all year was inspiring. You were on the ice so many consecutive days in preparation for your victory and your hard work all paid off. You faced a tougher schedule with 5 teams in your pool and played extra games, but this allowed you to grow even stronger heading into the finals. You came away with a GOLD medal at a young age, which so many players only dream of achieving. Congratulations!
To all of the girls leaving the Ice Kats in your final year of play, we thank you for all of your contributions to our program and we wish you the very best in your future. Once an Ice Kat, always an Ice Kat!
If your team was not mentioned here, that does not mean we don’t appreciate all of your efforts. Be proud of yourself every time you lace up those skates. Come to the rink with an attitude of gratitude and a willingness to learn. Soak up all of the lessons your coaches provide and seek opportunities for growth in your game and in the person you are becoming every day.
As the President of this organization for the past 3 years and the VP of player development for 2 years prior to that, I am filled with so many emotions and gratitude for every single person who made a commitment to make this organization great and this season so very special.
I want to say a massive thank you to ALL of our Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Trainers and Managers; without you, things would never run, and we appreciate all of you so very much. To all of the Executive members who worked tirelessly to keep things afloat and make our program work and dealt with all of the red tape we have lived through, I send you heartfelt thanks and appreciation. To the parents and grandparents who drove their players to the rink, cheered with heart and respect for the game, you are the reason our kids get to compete. To our PLAYERS – who donned the TEAL jerseys in REP for so many months awaiting your beautiful NEW jerseys and the multicoloured jerseys with our new logo in Houseleague – you are all WINNERS in my books, and you are the reason I do what I do every day to work to make the PGHA strong. To all of the young girls out there who can’t wait to put on an ICE KATS jersey, keep shooting those pucks and working on your skating, one day you too could be having an OWHA medal placed around your neck!
Thank you to everyone who worked to make these past few seasons so special and congratulations to every single Ice Kat out there on your individual accomplishments. Good luck at tryouts and on the ice as the season begins for next year.
Remember, every day, in every way, YOU are getting better and better.
Yours in Sport,