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Off the Couch and Into the Game of Hockey

March 1st, 2015

By Maureen Connellan

We all know that taking quality time for family, with a time crunched schedule, is an ongoing challenge. We also know that too many children aren’t getting enough exercise. And of course we all know that our tendencies as Generation X snowploughing parents are creating children who don’t face enough adversity to work through situations. But there is one family in Edmonton who has found some answers with the Sportsdome Minor Ball Hockey program ( Playing the ball hockey game for 10 years now, Dave Laroche is no stranger to the Edmonton Sportsdome. So when the minor league began a couple years ago, he saw it as a great opportunity to get his son Oliver involved.

“The physical act of chasing a ball, running into other kids, and trying to achieve the purpose of putting the ‘teeny tiny ball’ in the net made him get used to being in a new situation. From the perspective of my wife Jen and I, we would see him struggle at times with kids that were faster than him, or teams that had more participation and more active ball time. As bad as it sounds, a child facing adversity isn’t a bad thing. We live in a world where a lot of kids don’t know how to deal with challenges because their parents want to ‘be there for them’. Ball hockey has been a part of his development in figuring out that not everything is easy, and sometimes you need to do things for yourself,” says Dave.

The Sportsdome Minor Ball Hockey League began in the spring of 2012 and has seen exponential growth since the beginning season. Ball hockey is the fastest growing sport in Canada, and offers an affordable alternative from the costly ice hockey minor leagues. Operating out of the Edmonton Sportsdome, it offers parents an opportunity to involve their children in a sport that teaches the concepts of hockey without the necessity of learning to skate. Parental involvement is encouraged which can foster quality, undistracted time with their kids while learning the game. And with games held at the same location on weekends only, it’s proving to be an appealing program in our multicultural city.

“Ball hockey through the SDBHL has been a very important part of Oliver growing up as it’s helping to teach him that it’s ok to lose. It’s ok to get hurt. It’s ok to feel like [at first] you aren’t able to do something,” explains Dave. “It teaches him how to be a part of a team. It gets him running, and making new friends. And it gets him to be a part of something that he idolizes, since he sees me and my friends go play on the same rink and use the same dressing rooms.”

In the words of Oliver, his favourite part is, “When the horn sounds, and I get to come off the bench and go play hockey.”

For more information about the Sportsdome Minor Ball Hockey League visit

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