New to Wetaskiwin this year is the sport of inline hockey. Inline has been around for a while in the Edmonton area and as of this year has officially started in Wetaskiwin. Thanks to Craig Podritske who got the ball rolling last year with a U-16 inline team that practiced and played in tournaments only, this year has evolved into 5 teams playing in the Edmonton Inline League.
After last year’s foray into inline hockey with one U-16 team Craig Podritske teamed up with Wetaskiwin Minor Hockey League President Garry Bushnell to exchange ideas on whether and how to get inline hockey going in Wetaskiwin. At almost the end of their first season with 5 Wetaskiwin teams playing Craig and Garry could be content, but they are not stopping just yet. Their goal is to have teams from Millet, Pigeon Lake and Hobbema etc. playing in a league of their own or in cahoots with Edmonton Inline.
Wetaskiwin Inline’s 5 teams which include 2 U-10 teams, 1 U-12 team, 1 U-14 team and 1 U-16 team play their home games out of Beaumont at this point. In total there are 50 players registered. The season for inline is three months long starting in April and ending in June. Teams play 2 games per week. Inline hockey is 4 on 4 with no icing or offsides, or any outright bodychecking. The equipment for inline is the same as hockey except for the skates, and teams wear full length pant sets. A couple weeks ago Wetaskiwin Inline’s 5 teams played in a tournament in Red Deer with 3 teams receiving medals. The U-10 Blue team got Gold, U-12 Bronze and the U-16 Gold.
As the season starts to wind down teams are preparing for playoffs and Provincials. All 5 teams are in the Provincials on June 21-23. The biggest event of the year for Wetaskiwin Inline is the U-16 Junior Ice going to the AAU Junior Olympics in Huntington Beach California on July 11-22nd. Of course the U-16s are very pumped about this trip and the chance to represent Canada. There are 15 countries involved in the Junior Olympics from faraway places such as Great Britain, Australia, China, Columbia etc. Pioneer Chrysler paid for the Team Canada jerseys and pants for the team. The Junior Ice also fundraised and got sponsors to help pay for their trip. Any extra will fall on the parents of U-16 players. 9 players and 2 goalies along with their entourage of approximately 29 parents and coaches will be going and staying in Anahiem. The first few days upon arriving will be some sightseeing and pictures followed by the business of 2 four day tourneys. The first will be against American teams only and the second will be all International. Good luck to Wetaskiwin Inline as they head to playoffs and provincials, and also good luck to the U-16 Junior Ice as they get ready for the AAU Junior Olympics.
In their first year Wetaskiwin Inline has generated a lot of interest with hopefully more next year. Next year will see a U-8 team as well. Inline is more affordable than ice hockey and is a fun sport. If you are interested in inline hockey and require more info go to: wetaskiwininline.com or call Craig at 780-312-4003 or Garry at 780-312-0073.