A legacy of success

PA Hockey’s 2017 Bantam Coach of the Year Brent Ikert, President’s Award of Merit winner Rick Shulz, Initiation Program Coach of the Year Michael Johnson, Atom Coach of the Year Marc Malenfant, Midget Coach of the Year Brian Bieber, Manager/Volunteer of the Year Lisa Dryka and Midget Coach of the year Trevor Kwiatkowski (clockwise from top-left). Novice Coach of the Year Brent Spademan and Peewee Coach of the Year Derek Mitchell did not attend the event. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

For 60 years, Prince Albert Hockey has been the home of hundreds of kids getting their start in the game.

Founded in 1957 as Prince Albert Kinsmen Minor Hockey, the club operated under that name until 1989, when it became Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association. The organization has averaged around 1,000 players per year, and has consistently been one of the most innovative and forward-thinking organizations in Western Canada.

P.A. Hockey has produced graduates who have played professionally in North American and Europe, and dozens more who have played at high levels such as Major Junior, Junior A or college hockey in Canada and the US.

Now, the organization is headed into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame.

“It’s gratifying,” said P.A. Hockey technical director James Mays.

“It enforces that we’re on the right track and doing the right things within the community.”

Mays played all of his minor hockey here in P.A. He moved away before returning to work for the organization. He has been in his current position for six years. During his decades of involvement, Mays has seen the league go through lots of changes.

At one point, it was made up of individual teams run by the different community clubs. There were also fewer tiers for players of different skill levels.

Changing those formats has allowed the teams to grow to be more competitive.

But while the format has changed, the strength of the organization has remained the same – the hundreds of volunteers who help make each season a success.

“Our board members over the years have done a great job and put in a lot of time, but it’s not just that,” Mays said.

“It’s the 250 coaches we have that are spending countless hours at the rink every winter”

For more on this story, please see the April 25 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.