Middle School ice hockey looking to expand

| 13 Sep 2017 | 02:03

By Rose Sgarlato
- Sparta Youth Ice Hockey is looking to make a comeback under the new direction of parents Rick Koerner, Chris Gorvan and Doug Dyksra. Although the program has been in existence at Sparta Middle School for the past two years, there is now a big push to expand the team.
According to Koerner, about seven years ago the program was larger and included elementary and middle school players. But due to some competition, the Sparta program lost steam.
“Six years ago Skylands Ice World started their own recreational ice hockey teams and enrolled players from all the local towns decimating the number of eligible players to form a town team," said Koerner. “This impacted high school ice hockey and both the Jefferson and Sparta ice hockey teams were forced to join to ensure that they could have enough eligible players to form a team.”
Koerner adds that ice hockey gets no funding from the township of Sparta and is run by volunteers and funded by the parents and coaches that play. Former coach Bill Battaglia is moving on to the high school level and has passed the reins to sixth grade parents Koerner, Dykstra and Gorvan who will be the coach.
Practice will start the second week of October at Skylands Ice World In Stockholm and is open to 6th, 7th and 8th grade boys and girls. Asked if there are any requirements for joining the team, Koerner replied:“Knowing how to skate is about it. The program is designed for kids who want to try it.”
A former player, Koerner believes hockey is a great sport because it yields “fantastic and tough athletes and games don’t drag.”
The current program plays 10 regular season games, mostly on Sunday evening, and about two or more play-off games at Skylands. Also, there will be skills clinics added this season.The program is designed to be fun, energetic and spirited.
“Our mission is to offer the very best hockey experience to every player in our program," Koerner said. "We want to instill confidence through balanced competition, skill through consistent development, teamwork through stated values and passion for the game through dedicated supervision. We aim to provide an opportunity to play competitive hockey games and to work on improving skills while experiencing a fun and exciting atmosphere.”
For more information or to sign up, email: spartayouthicehockey@gmail.com