Although there has already been a sprinkling of winter sports activity with the Prince Albert Mintos having held their training camp a week ago and the A&W Bears doing the same this weekend, the last real summer activity is this weekend when the under-16 Celtic girls play for a provincial outdoor soccer championship.
After that, I’m afraid, the shortest summer on record will have come to an end.
The Prince Albert Raiders start their camp on Tuesday and this Sunday is the registration evening for the River Riders football program so the signs of autumn are definitely upon us.
The River Riders registration event is the first of many for the fall and winter programs as there are so many options for children to get involved in sport it almost seems impossible that some don’t.
The River Riders is a minor football program that is open to players 14 years old and younger. Registrations and equipment fitting for this season will be accepted from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday at the Crescent Heights Arena with workouts for the pee wee and bantam teams beginning on Monday on the field adjacent to the arena.
The Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association will be accepting registrations for the indoor season at the Alfred Jenkins Field House from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Sept. 3-5 while the Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association has the Johnny Bower Lobby in the Art Hauser Centre booked from 7-9 p.m. on Sept. 3-4 to continue with registrations for the upcoming season.
When I was at a press conference earlier this week announcing the retirement of Mike Modano’s No. 9 jersey by the Raiders I had an opportunity to talk to minor hockey’s technical director James Mays and he says everything is ready for another long and successful season. Conditioning camps will be held the week after registrations and then the Tier 1 teams have selection camps as all three developmental clubs begin play in the Centre-Four Hockey League in early October. House leagues for minor hockey will begin their schedules in late October with several ice sessions being held for that group prior to the start of the regular campaign.
Many other sports are also getting ready for the winter season as the Prince Albert Speed Skating Club will have its registration night from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the Art Hauser Centre and the Sharks Swim Club is taking registrations on Sept. 4 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Frank Dunn Pool.
The Aerials Gymnastics Club has already had a number of dates for registrations with their recreation season starting on Sept. 7 and the Timberlands Bowbenders will gather registrations in mid-September as that club prepares to compete in its new facility, the old Sportsman Bowl, for their first full indoor season.
There are other sports still that have yet to announce when they will be getting together with the Northern Knights Fencing Club coming to mind. This is a somewhat obscure little group, but they are developing elite athletes as evidenced by Shellbrook’s Shaylyn Kress making the provincial team for the recent Canada Summer Games.
There are also the various martial arts groups that have programs throughout the winter so they are just a phone call away to see what they have to offer.
All of this is outside of school activities, which will get into full swing in the next couple of weeks. There are a number of volleyball camps planned for late August and early September and high school football programs will be taking to the field before the calendar flips to September.
A recent study indicated that today’s youth are heavier and more lethargic than young people from other generations, but really there is no excuse for that. The options continue to grow for what children can get involved in and while some sports are definitely more expensive than others, there are so many that really are inexpensive; all that is needed is some time and effort.
Drop-in programs also exist at the Margo Fournier Centre and other facilities so again the options are endless. Another very apparent factor in this day and age is that instruction is so much better. The more the participants put into their chosen sport the more they will get out of it. It is just a matter of getting motivated to get involved in something.
The excuse of saying that there is nothing to do in Prince Albert just doesn’t work anymore. This city has some of the best facilities and organizations in the province for a variety of different sports and now it is up to the citizens to make use of them. I know the debate still rages on that we need a new multi-purpose facility, but we have to make better use of what we have before we can move on.
With the city continuing to grow at the rate it is it is just a matter of time before new facilities are constructed (and a bridge -- had to sneak that in), but the time is now to get the mileage out of our present groups and facilities. This is the time of year to size up the options because there are plenty of them.
Dave Leaderhouse is a reporter with the Prince Albert Daily Herald.