After closing last season with a 4-34 record, some fans have been wondering if the junior B Ponoka Stampeders would continue this season. A website “under construction” since the end of last season has not helped matters, but team president Ken Kinley said the team has already started practicing for the upcoming season.
The Stampeders had their summer camp Aug. 25 and 26 at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex. Coaches worked with players to prepare them for the season.
The goal is to bring in as many local players as possible, explained Kinley. Despite a slow start, he hopes for a strong season.
“I’d like to see us in the .500 club this year,” he said. “We’re just going to have to play hockey and give 100 per cent every game.”
The coaching team comprises head coach Nick Jones, assistant coach David Parent and manager Andrew Walker. Parent and Walker used to play with the Stampeders and Kinley feels the three have strong rapport with the players. “We’re just giving them full reins…we want to let them go with it.”
With summer months coming to a close and their main camp planned for September, the board of directors has worked to get advertising going as well as recruiting new players, and Kinley was grateful to residents of Ponoka. “I think the community support is very good.”
He was also thankful to business sponsors that have been with the Stampeders since they started. One challenge the club faces is recruiting in the summer, because players are away or working.
Plans for the team’s website are underway and Kinley said it will work in conjunction with the Heritage Junior B website.
According to the Heritage Junior Hockey website, regular season play begins Sept. 21.