The Elk Valley will host spring hockey for the first time in over a decade after the community rallied to keep young players on local ice.
The Elk River Bullies is a newly formed youth hockey team made up of children from Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford, and born in 2007.
Kevin Marasco, Darcy Mattersdorfer and Marty Williams started the spring program with the support of local businesses and organizations.
“The reason why we did it is because a lot of the players locally were travelling to Cranbrook and Lethbridge to play spring hockey because there was no program on offer here,” said Williams.
The Elk River Bullies will kick off the spring season with an interprovincial competition in Fernie this weekend before travelling to Calgary for the Canam and Alberta Champions Cup later this month.
The Elk River Bullies Kootenay Cup Exhibition Series will feature eight games and take place at Fernie Memorial Arena from April 12-14.
The local side will go up against teams from Cranbrook, Lethbridge and Airdrie.
“Come and watch some exciting hockey,” said Williams. “It will be a good test for us, for sure, to see where we’re at.”
Elk River Guiding Company is one of the program supporters and helped the players come up with the team name and logo, which was inspired by local fish species, bull trout.
The business will sell Elk River Bullies merchandise in-store and donate all proceeds to the team. Jerseys will also be available to buy at the arena this weekend.
Williams hopes to make the spring program an annual event and open it to other age groups.
He thanked the team’s sponsors: Elk River Guiding Company, Teck Coal, PJB Crane Services, Giv’Er Shirt Works, Canadian Tire, Fernie Printing Company, Kootenay Signs, CCM and Fernie Minor Hockey.
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Elk River Bullies Kootenay Cup Exhibition Series
Friday, April 12 – Kootenay Warriors vs. Elk River Bullies 5-7 p.m.; Lethbridge Rebels vs. Airdrie Stars 7:15-9:15 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 – Elk River Bullies vs. Lethbridge Rebels 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Airdrie Stars vs. Kootenay Warriors 12:15-2:15 p.m.; Kootenay Warriors vs. Lethbridge Rebels 4-6 p.m.; Airdrie Stars vs. Elk River Bullies 6:15-8:15 p.m.
Sunday, April 14 – 4th vs. 3rd 9-11 a.m.; 2nd vs. 1st 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Elk River Bullies roster: 2. Cruz Hess; 3. Gavin Whittington; 4. Blaine Trischuk; 5. Felix Craig Dumba; 6. Adam Latka; 7. Brayden Holberton; 8. Cohen Hide; 9. Rhys Williams; 10. Sawyer Samycia; 11. Jaxson Miller; 12. Andrew Whittington; 13. Austin Marasco; 14. Sam Arling; 15. Jayden Logodi; 16. Kacie Corkle; 17. Owen Rybachuk; 1. Aaron Halladay-Dmytriw; 31. Dane DeMarchi; Coach – Darcy Mattersdorfer; Assistant coach – Jared Sailer and Connor Hughes.