Heartland Dragons Hockey Association players, parents and volunteers,

The 2021-22 season has wound down — teams have already had their last practices and we are done with our ice time and starting to look forward to next season.

This was not a season that any of us wanted to have.  We all wanted to have more games. We all wanted to go and watch our friends and our kids play hockey this year.  We all wanted to be together and celebrate every achievement. But COVID took that from us this season, although we at least had the opportunity to play some hockey.

Despite that, the resiliency of HDHA players and parents has shone through. People dealt with the number of restrictions and rules — and they changed almost daily early in the season it seemed. Kids got used to wearing masks — teams found innovative ways to get their young kids ready for the ice while maintaining social distancing.  People stepped up to provide COVID compliance and were good about ensuring safety for everyone.  I especially want to thank our COVID Coordinator (Kyla Scoville) for her tireless efforts in coordinating our COVID compliance protocols.  This was a massive undertaking, managing constantly changing rules/directives!!  We can all be proud of our safety record this year and that is thanks to everyone working together.

For all the coaches, who made social distancing on the ice work — who kept the kids entertained and improved their skills at the same time — know that you have made a difference this year. When so many have been shut-in, you were able to help kids open up and have fun.

For all the managers and COVID compliance people who supported everyone in following the rules — and what the rules actually were — and who kept interest high and people informed — thank you.

Our Board members, the people behind the scenes, put in many hours making things run smoothly.  Some notable efforts included

–        our Ice Allocator (Mark Feeley), who had to reschedule ice times at the drop of a hat, and made sure we used the ice we were allocated

–        our Registrar (Lisa Day), who made sure that everyone on the ice had the qualifications to be there

–        our Operations Group, managing a wide range of issues, made sure information was communicated quickly and correctly, know that your work has been appreciated. Special mention to our House League Director and Head Convenor, Joe Indovina who somehow found the time (and energy) and filled the gap by coaching four teams as well as managing all of our TeamSnap communications!!

–        our Vice-President Training & Development Dan Tanaka, delivered another great year for our 1st and 2nd Shift programs as well as managing and delivering an even more comprehensive range of training programs for our players.

–        our Web Team (Beverley Andrews and Perry Stuminikov), were a key part of our response to the COVID-related challenges making significant extra efforts to improve our website content and the timeliness of the information provided.  Our Web Team welcomes any suggested improvements that could make our website even more effective for you.

For all our parents that kept bringing their kids to their practices and games — even knowing you might not get to see it — thank you for putting your faith in us.

For those parents new to hockey – I want to thank you for your patience and I hope that your child had fun this year.  If they did, tell your friends — we would love to see more young players starting hockey — we have amazing coaches and development opportunities for all levels of players.

I am very optimistic that next season will be somewhat more normal than this one. With increased vaccinations and boosters I am really hoping that next season we will be able to see each other more, have regular games and be able to watch them all in person.

So — for next season — I will see you at the rink.

Have a safe and happy spring and summer.