Sunday, February 28, 2021
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Moses Lake Hockey association makes most of time on ice

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | January 29, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — The puck banging the walls of the Moses Lake Ice Rink rang out as the Moses Lake Coyotes 18U team warmed up for practice Monday evening. With Moses Lake’s outdoor arena, the Moses Lake Youth Hockey Association has had a unique opportunity to keep practices going this season.

The association has practiced pretty much since the rink opened. With competition unavailable, the team focuses on skills in practice. Most similar clubs are limited by indoor restrictions.

“We’re grateful to the city to get (the rink) going,” said Chad Strevy, the MLYHA hockey director and coach for the 18U team in Moses Lake. “We just really enjoy coming out here and skating. Every team has kids this year, which is great. We had a few that opted out, but for the most part, everyone’s come back and having fun playing hockey.”

While he said it’s been tough on his players not having a chance to compete, he said they seem to have enjoyed themselves. As older kids in the association, Strevy said he asked his 18U players before the season kicked off what they wanted out of this year.

“Most of it was, ‘Have fun,’ so that’s what we’re doing,” Strevy said. “We’re doing work, but the emphasis is on having fun.”

Ryan Porter, president of the MLYHA, said it got a slightly later start this season, but only due to weather, not COVID-19 restrictions. With other events and activities limited for the youth in town, he said the association has been glad to offer youth something.

Porter said they have basically followed the governor’s and city’s guidelines for COVID-19 safety, starting out with groups of five. He said guidelines seemed to change week by week. Currently, the teams can hit the ice with masks and social distancing, but they still are unable to host any tournaments or games.

“It’s probably harder on the coaches and parents because hockey is a tremendous commitment, and when you don’t get the payout of the game, getting to see your kid play, it’s a little hard,” Porter said. “But everyone’s been pretty grateful that we’ve been able to have something, because most associations have zero.”

Porter noted the Moses Lake Ice Rink and the outdoor rink in Winthrop are two of very few in the state that have continued operating. Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend is typically one of the bigger tournament weekends MLYHA hosts each year. Porter said it’s tough missing out on those teams and families coming into town, for the organization and the community.

Not having tournaments this season is tough, especially on the older kids from the 18U team who will age out after this year, Porter said.

“You practice all week for games in hopes that you have something, but no games,” Porter said.

He said they have had a few kids, mostly younger ones, join this season, with other sports on hold, looking for something to do.

While older kids can adjust to hockey quickly while still mastering their ability to skate, Porter said it can be easier to bring in new players when they’re 10 and under.

“We can accommodate a younger age pretty easily as a starting point just because you get a couple of years before it gets a tad more serious,” Porter said.

He said the team has managed to get in a few pickup games outside the state, but added those have been few and far between. Porter said he’d be happy to put together some games or a tournament if given the chance before the season ends.

For now, he said he feels a relief to have something to offer kids and parents this season.

“For everybody, a lot of their lives have been completely canceled and they get to come out and it feels somewhat normal for them because this is what they do,” Porter said. “It’s wintertime, and we play hockey in the wintertime.”

Casey McCarthy can be reached via email at cmccarthy@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

18U coach and MLYHA Hockey Director Chad Strevy works with his team on the ice as they get warmed up at the beginning of practice on Monday night.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Jordan Cohee adjusts his skate during practice on Monday night at the ice rink in Moses Lake.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Nolan Betz eyes in the pass during a drill at the beginning of practice for the 18U Moses Lake Hockey team on Monday evening.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Moses Lake Coyotes 18U goalie Jacob Strevy makes his way around the ice rink in Moses Lake as he warms up for practice on Monday evening.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Front left to right,Noah Burns and Brayden Buduan get geared up with their teammates before practice Monday night at the Moses Lake Ice Rink.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Left to right, Jordan Cohee and Josh Hopkins with the Moses Lake Coyotes 18U team make their way around the ice at the rink in Moses Lake on Monday evening as the team warms up for practice.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Left to right, Brayden Buduan and Carson Shurtz float down the ice during a passing drill to kick things off for the 18U team at the ice rink in Moses Lake on Monday night.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Mason Solders and Noah Burns work through a passing drill as they make their way around the ice at the Moses Lake Ice Rink on Monday evening.