Saturday, November 3, the Nakusp arena came alive. The smell of rink burgers on the grill, familiar faces in the stands and Val Scott in the announcers booth as she has been for years. All of this just simply familiar sights and smells during hockey season in Nakusp.
The volunteers running the music between whistles kept the crowd and kids into the game and their spirits up with tunes from AC/DC to pump up the frenzy in the air. The 50/50 draws have been sometimes worth a small car payment and even better with some local residents winning thanks to the selling efforts of the players parents volunteering to get out there and raise funds for Nakusp Minor Hockey.
The Nakusp Atom Falcons played against Spokane for their first game ad even though the kids lost the game, the action on the ice was intoxicating judging by the cheers from stands. The Atoms played Spokane, Nelson and Trail with goals by Devon Coates, Wyatt Petterson and Isaac Flamand: some future NHL stars. Our Atoms team is small with only two lines and our goalie, Noah Fizzard, and it can be intimidating watching the visiting teams skate out onto the ice when they easily consist of three lines or more, but the kids skate on. It doesn’t even phase them; they just want to play.
Against Trail this past weekend, a thought came to my mind, something I learned when I was the age of the Atoms kids myself: “Anything boys can do, girls can do better.” Number 29 off of the Trail team, a young red-headed girl, scored four goals in one game Way to go, she was awesome!
The coaching staff of our Atoms Falcons teach the kids, there is no “I” in team, and at this young age Mike Smith, Mitch Hascarl, Robert Coates Jr. and Dean Zanier, have made it clear to the kids that they play together, as a team. Some of the drills they practice twice a week would make most of us crumble in exhaustion but they all work hard and look up to their peers in awe as the coaches use positive reinforcement to keep the spirit on the bench and ice at a high.
After four games in the last two weekends, team Trainer Dean Zanier smiles when he says: “The kids are playing excellent hockey and improving every game. Come on out and cheer them on!” And the people of Nakusp do. It is heart warming to see parents of past Nakusp Midget Falcons out to each and every game cheering the kids on, coaches and players from all levels in the stands showing their support and enthusiasm of up-and-coming hockey stars.
The Atoms’ next home game is November 17 against the Kootenay Boundary team at 1:45 p.m. Come on out, bring your noise makers, bring your cheers and your smiles. This is hockey season Nakusp: welcome and thank you from Nakusp Minor Hockey 2012/2013.