Ball Hockey Takes Off!
Ball Hockey was introduced to Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows at an organized level for children by Mike Mitchell (Founder and President) in 2003. With Mike's background of playing competitive ball hockey at an adult level, he felt there was a need to offer this sport to children. Growing up as a child, street hockey or the occasional drop-in at local community centres was the only way youths could participate in this sport. As Mike started to work on building an Association for the Maple Ridge area, he came across other Minor Ball Hockey Associations within the region. Delta, Surrey and Langley have had Minor Ball Hockey programs for a number of years prior to the induction of RMMBHA.
At the start of the 2003 West Coast Minor Ball Hockey Association (WCMBHA) season, Ridge Meadows was recognized as a Minor Ball Hockey Association and was added to the season schedule. In its first season of organized ball hockey, RMMBHA had 137 children playing on 9 teams competing against other regional Associations. RMMBHA is still in its early years as an Association, but is growing at a rapid rate. Even though our Association, in 2003, was handed the catchment area of Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Mission from West Coast Minor, the majority of players reside within the Ridge Meadows area. Our present area of catchment is now Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Mission and Deroche.
2004 was the first year that RMMBHA sent teams to compete in the Western Challenge Cup. Since then, RMMBHA has won a total of 4 silver provincial medals and in 2007 the Dragonators (Pup Division) and the AAA Rustlers (Minor Division) brought home the association's first gold medals from the minor provincials. With the continuation of the Western Challenge Cups that has 'rep' teams competing in 5 different age groups from BC and Alberta, RMMBHA in their last two visits to the tournament has brought home some hardware.
In 2006 the U10, U12 and U17 brought home a Bronze medal and in 2007 (hosted in Edmonton), the U10 Renegades brought home the Division Cup and RMMBHA's first gold medal from the WCC tournament. The same year the U12 team brought home a silver medal.
In our fifth season (2007) we grew to over 830 children with 54 teams competing. The Association averages an increase of 150 players each season since it first began. The organizing duties of the past and present Board of Directors and the participation of players and parents has taken RMMBHA to heights they wouldn't thought would be possible in its first five years. RMMBHA's first medals came with a tremendous showing in the 2004 Provincials with one of our Peanut teams (Ridge Meadows Lightning) and one of our Major teams (Ridge Meadows Raiders) picking up a Silver. Now going into our 11th season, we are currently registered at 1005 players, with a waitlist in each division.
Our current season of 2014 is quickly approaching with the Board of Directors working very hard to ensure we have another successful season!
Our board consists of seventeen members who have shown a passion to keep our league going!
Even our Founder/Present President, back in 2003, couldn't imagine that organized Ball Hockey would be at this level this fast in Ridge Meadows!