When Chris Ellis was younger, he couldn’t wait for the summer he turned 16. For a young man growing up in Bishop’s Falls that meant one thing – you could join the Bishop’s Falls Men’s Ball Hockey League.
Ellis has now been part of the league for ten years and currently serves as league president.
Every summer he and several dozen other men, young and old, look forward to hitting the rink twice a week for an evening of fun, competitive ball hockey.
The season is now over for the summer, but Ellis said it was another excellent year for the league.
“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s great socializing,” he said.
But, he added, while it’s all in good fun, the competitive nature of the league keeps it interesting for the players and spectators.
And as with all sports, the team with the competitive edge tends to take the prize. This year Buddy’s Express was that team.
They managed to clinch the top spot of four teams after what Ellis called a close playoff series.
Ellis said because the teams and players change each season, there’s not one team that tends to come out on top year after year.
“A team with young players who are good runners can win it and usually do because they have the skills,” said Ellis. “If an older team wins it, it’s the experience.”
Ellis said pretty much everyone in the league is a big hockey fan, and most of the players in the league played junior hockey or went through the minor hockey system.
“There are some players who have never played organized hockey before and are not as good at ice hockey, but ball hockey is something they can look forward to.”
The Bishop’s Falls league is one of three on the island – there’s one in Corner Brook and one in St. John’s. Each year Bishop’s Falls puts together an all-star team to compete.
“This year we tied one a game and we lost the rest of our games by one goal,” he said. “We had to haul the goalie pretty much every game.”
Although the season has ended, Ellis already has an eye forward on next year.
He said one of their goals is getting more people out to the rink to take in the games.
“It’s fast paced (and) fun to watch,” he said, adding the executive plans to do more advertising next year when they start planning the season in may.
“I’d like to thank everybody on the executive for all the hard work (they) put in,” he said. “I hope to see them all next year.”