Before the Semiahmoo Minor Ball Hockey League begins its second season in the spring, league president Rick Duchesne will have to sort out boundary issues with the neighbouring league from Surrey.
In fact, a catchment-area problem – brought forth by the Surrey Ball Hockey Association last spring, midway through Semiahmoo’s first season – caused the first-year White Rock/South Surrey-based association to temporarily be ousted from West Coast Minor Ball Hockey, which is the umbrella group for all Lower Mainland associations.
According to Duchesne, Surrey’s former league president – who has since left the post – complained that Duchesne’s league was taking players from South Surrey, which had previously been the domain of the Surrey association. As a result, Semiahmoo was suspended in late June, and its teams were unable to participate in provincials and, in mid-July, the Western Challenge Cup in Edmonton.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of politics in amateur sports,” Duchesne said. “But it’s all being sorted out now, and we’re back as a league in good standing.”
He’s also confident that the boundary concerns can be hashed out soon.
“Our intentions were never to dip into Surrey’s area and take players away from them. We just wanted to let kids who live near (Centennial Arena) have the chance to play closer to home,” Duchesne said.
While Duchesne was disappointed over having to pull his teams out of provincials and the Western Challenge, he did so quietly, he said, under the guise of not being able to gather enough players together.
“We didn’t want to air our dirty laundry, and a lot of first-year teams don’t go to these things anyway, so we just kept it low-key,” he said.