Smithers goalie Boden Derbyshire has been signed to the Greater Metro Junior ‘A’ Hockey League (GMHL) expansion team in Kitimat.
This past hockey season Derbyshire played for the North Central Zone AA U18 team with which he played 12 games with a goals against average of 3.67.
“I’m really excited to get started on the next chapter of my hockey journey in Kitimat this upcoming season,” Derbyshire said of the move.
The players in the league are all full-time and live in the community giving them an opportunity to begin volunteering.
“Most teams have a snow angels program where they shovel walks for seniors (and) any other volunteer groups that are already in place, we make ourselves available to them,” said Derek Prue, director of expansion GMHL West.
The new Kitimat Spirit Bears team is set to play its inaugural season in the GMHL this year and will play alongside two other teams in northern B.C., the Burns Lake Timbermen and the Tumbler Ridge Steel Kings.
Kitimat is scheduled for 21 home games, which are played on weekends only.
The GMHL West is the western division of the 15-year-old GMHL, which comprises 30 teams nationally, and which has graduated more than 900 players to every level of collegiate and professional hockey.
Players at the Jr. A level are full-time hockey players, typically ranging in age from 16-21 and come from around the world to improve their hockey, academic, and overall life skills.
These young men are invested in the community, doing a considerable amount of volunteering as well as mentoring youth in minor hockey and in the local school systems.
Smithers council denied a request from the GMHL to have an expansion team in Smithers, due to conflicts in scheduling ice time, and after receiving several letters of opposition from current arena and ice user groups.