Ball hockey becomes a high school sport in Maple Ridge

Male Ridge has a new six-team league in the fastest-growing high school sport in the province – ball hockey.

Madison Fox (left) of Thomas Haney chases after Nathan Weloy of Garibaldi during a ball hockey game at Pitt Meadows arena.

Madison Fox (left) of Thomas Haney chases after Nathan Weloy of Garibaldi during a ball hockey game at Pitt Meadows arena.

Maple Ridge has a new six-team league in the fastest-growing high school sport in the province – ball hockey.

This year there is a Maple Ridge circuit in the new Lower Mainland league, which started in Surrey in 2013 and has been spreading like a Youtube kitten video.

Surrey teacher Robert Moxness is the man who first got the ball rolling, and has helped the sport as it goes viral. He’s now getting calls from teachers as far away as Ontario asking for advice in getting their own high school leagues going.

It is not a traditional high school sport, but Moxness says ball hockey is perfect.

“Ball hockey is B.C.’s fastest growing sport,” he asserts. “It’s accessible, it’s affordable and kids don’t need to know how to skate, but they can still go out and feel like they’re playing for the Stanley Cup.”

It began with a tournament in Surrey in 2011. It  grew into a rapidly expanding league. Now Moxness runs the forerunner of a provincial championship in a year-end invitational tournament.

Last year, two Maple Ridge teams competed in that event, and it was actually two students, Curtis Rodgerson and Thomas Hong, who asked for Moxness’ help in getting a league started here.

Normally that’s a big job, but here it went smoothly. Moxness found there was available arena time – a big barrier in other communities – so all the games could be held locally. There is already a great ball hockey association in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and president Joe Seminario was able to help with things like booking qualified referees.

“The association is supportive and they have been awesome,” said Moxness. “We’re off to a great start.”

And his two teen organizers helped create a buzz in the schools – there are teams in Samuel Robertson Technical, Maple Ridge secondary, Garibaldi, Westview and Thomas Haney actually has two teams.

“They have been the galvanizers – a league doesn’t usually develop this quickly in my experience,” said Moxness of Rodgerson and Hong.

That said, there are already seven teams in Surrey West, another seven in a Surrey East league, a four-team Delta division, and seven more in a Lower Mainland Division that includes teams from high schools in Burnaby, Vancouver and Richmond.

With six new teams in Maple Ridge, that means there are already 31 teams in the Lower Mainland, and Abbotsford and Chilliwack schools have been in touch with Moxness.

He has also seen growth in the standard of play, and notes that elite-level ball hockey players can pursue the sport all the way to the world championships.

“The calibre of competition has improved every year,” said Moxness.

The Maple Ridge Ramblers and SRT Titans have jumped out to an early lead in the local standings with two wins and tie. The Titans have showed a high octane offence, and have put up 23 goals in just three games, while allowing only three goals against.

Hockey has traditionally been a rough, if not violent game, and Moxness thinks that reputation may have kept ball hockey out of schools in the past. But the players wear helmets with full face protection, there is no body checking, and there is zero tolerance of fighting. Engaging in fisticuffs leads to expulsion from the league. In Surrey’s inaugural season, when a player took a run at another player, he was handed a season-ending penalty for intent to injure, despite the fact that the victim was not injured.

The ball hockey organizers are quick to eject problem players, but in Maple Ridge, so far so good.

“The mantra is that this is an expansion of the classroom,” he said. “The rules are pretty tight, and the refs are good.”

Moxness wants continued growth, into a full-fledge provincial championship tournament, under the umbrella of BC high school sports.

He also wants to get a girls tournament started, hoping that it will plant the seed for a girls ball hockey league.

For this year, the addition of the Maple Ridge division is a significant boost for the sport on the high school scene.

“It’s a fun sport, its fun to watch, and the kids get a lot out of it,” said Moxness.

This year, the year-end tournament will feature 24 teams, and will be held May 27-29 at the North Surrey Recreation Centre.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge artist Zoran Malinovski has a new online exhibition called What’s Happening. (Angie Malinovski/Special to The News)
Exhibition by Maple Ridge artist brings environment back to the forefront

Zoran Malinovski’s online exhibition called What’s Happening

Maureen Blamey is a seniors outreach social worker with the geriatrics team. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
New geriatrics team to help seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

The Seniors Service Team was formed to improve the quality of life for pre-frail and frail, medically complex seniors

Baillie House long-term care is located at Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Google Maps)
Five people test positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge’s Baillie House

Long-term care facility is one month removed from its last outbreak

Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows MLA Beare performs one of first official acts in new office

Order permitting use of additional communication tools in public sector during pandemic extended

Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)
Pitt Meadows city hall and residents oppose new CP Rail operation

Company announces plans for CP Logistics Park: Vancouver

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

Most Read