Pirates are coming to Sylvan Lake with the new senior AA hockey team. It has been a number of years since Sylvan Lake has had a men’s senior hockey team, but that will soon change with the arrival of Darren Thompson from British Columbia to Sylvan Lake.
It all started when Darren Thompson, the team’s general manager, sent out a message on social media. Curtis Klein said Thompson was interested in starting a team and was looking for anyone interested in helping out.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. When Darren [Thompson] asked the question I said I was willing to put in the work,” said Klein, who has been a player for a few different senior teams around Central Alberta.
While the idea was only put into motion in the last three or four weeks, Klein says there has been a lot of support and interest thus far.
People are excited about the possibility, according to Klein. He has already had many local players express their interest in playing for the team.
“It’s been escalating really fast. People in town are really excited about the prospect,” Klein said.
The team will be run a little different than the Sylvan Lake Admirals, the town’s former senior team.
The Pirates are working on becoming a non-profit organization, according to Klein who says people are more accepting of a non-profit group.
Working as a non-profit organization makes it a little easier to start up, as starting a team can be expensive.
It will also help to limit the overhead costs of the team.
Being a non-profit will also support the team in giving back to the community.
“The last team didn’t do much for the town, and we want to give back,” said Klein. “Our plan is to be a presence in town.”
The new Sylvan Lake team won’t be the only non-profit team in the North Central Hockey League. Klein says there are a few other teams set up as non-profits, and the Pirates are following their example.
As a non-profit, no one on the team will be paid. Each player will be there based on their skill and because they want to play and have a good time, according to Klein.
Also, the vast majority of the players will be from Sylvan Lake.
“No one wants to watch players that don’t even live here,” said Klein. “People will be more likely to come out watch, and pay attention, to a game where they know the players.”
While the goal of the team is to have a good time playing a sport Canadians grow up on, Klein says he also wants the team to be competitive in the league.
Interested players need to be at least 18 years of age. Klein says there is no age limit as long as the skill and ability to play is there.
Most players in the league are between 18-35-years-old.
There has been a lot of interest from local players, and Klein is looking forward to the team taking to the ice for the 2018-19 season, based out of the NexSource Centre.
“We are planning tryouts for sometime in September right now,” he said.
More from the Sylvan Lake Pirates can be found on the team’s Facebook page.