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It was 'one of those years' for minor hockey

EMHA president looks back on the season that was

The 2009-10 season was a lot of things for the Estevan Minor Hockey Association, but uneventful was not one of them.

"It was a very interesting year," Kelly Kjersem, who just completed his first season as EMHA president, said in an interview Monday. "I've been on the board five years and this was the most interesting year."

Kjersem was pleased with the amount of money minor hockey helped raise at the new arena fundraising dinner in March, the live Hockey Day in Canada broadcast from the Civic Auditorium in January, and the success of a female hockey fun day with the Sask First team before Christmas.

On the ice, EMHA also debuted a competitive midget A female team, saw two A teams advance to their league finals, and another advance to the provincial final.

But Kjersem also had to deal with a number of unexpected incidents including the protest of a midget AA playoff game, the forfeiture of a peewee house playoff game, the mid-season resignation of his referee-in-chief, some unruly behaviour by a number of coaches, and more than one incident involving the midget A boys' team.

"There was a lot of stuff that happened this year that doesn't usually happen," said Kjersem. "But it wasn't just Estevan, it was all over. I talked to SHA and it wasn't just Estevan. Every city, town, you name it, had some issues this year. It was just one of those years."

A number of changes are on the horizon for this fall and Kjersem says the local board will formulate its game plan once the Saskatchewan Hockey Association confirms its on direction for 2010-11.

Among the topics up for discussion at SHA's upcoming meetings are a response to Hockey Canada's new minimum suspension guidelines for fighting, and possible changes to the radius that defines a "centre" for the purposes of selecting AA teams.

Estevan minor hockey also has its own annual general meeting scheduled for April 21.

"We're just going to have to wait and see on that stuff first before we see what we're going to do," said Kjersem. "League meetings start this week and we'll see what the other teams are doing and how many teams are going to be in leagues, and we'll have to go from there."

One thing Kjersem is relatively certain of is that a formal arrangement with Estevan Minor Football, to reduce the number of hockey tryouts that conflict with the football schedule, is still probably a year away.

"I think we would like to do something, but the issue is, when it comes to tryouts for us, we only have two rinks," he said. "And until we have that third rink, I can't see anything being able to change right now with only having the two rinks and the one rink not going in until after Showcase, that really puts us behind the eight ball.

"We've got to wait until the third rink opens and then we'll probably be able to do something with them."