Hockey in Scarborough will stick around

Someone is willing to take John Kelloway’s place in case the Scarborough Hockey Association president steps down.

Outside of the directors meeting on Nov. 15, SHA director Wayne Erison told Kelloway he is willing to step up.

“People deserve safe, affordable, and fun hockey in Scarborough,” Erison said in an interview later.  “It belongs right here. Nobody’s leaving anyone behind.”

Kelloway had earlier said the SHA might be folding after this season without full consent from other members of the association, which has concerned many parents and kids.

“I don’t know why he’s giving [the SHA] bad publicity,” said Paul Wilson, hockey dad and coach of the Scarborough Sabres Peewee ‘A’. “It’s not true and we need a change and a new president.  He has done nothing but to sabatoge it.”

Without hockey in Scarborough, parents may have to send their kids to play in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) where rates are higher compared to the SHA.

The basic cost to play in the SHA is between $750 to $1,200 whereas it can cost around $1,750 to $3,000 to play in the GTHL.

Stephen Seki, parent of Kiana Seki who plays on the Sabres, say he won’t register his daughter in the GTHL if the SHA folds.

“I pay around $1,000 for my daughter to play in the SHA,” Seki said.  “It’s an affordable and reasonable price to pay.  The GTHL is just way too much.”

Convenience is also a huge consideration for parents and kids in Scarborough. Teams in the SHA play in two local arenas: Don Montgomery Area located on Eglinton Ave. East and Commander Park Arena near McCowan and Sheppard.

“I really like playing here,” said 12-year-old Noah Smith, who plays forward for the Sabres. “It’s easy because we play in only two arenas.”

Most of the parents and kids in the SHA travel about five to 10 minutes to the arenas for practices and games.  However, if they were to join the GTHL, travel time would increase.

The SHA has a set schedule for the whole season of where and when the games will take place in the two Scarborough arenas.  In the GTHL, a game could be held in the Greater Toronto Area one night, then a different city another night.

“It wouldn’t be practical,” Seki said.  “Especially if you’re driving your kid during rush hour.”

Most of the kids in the SHA have been playing together for years.

“It’s nice to have the coaches and players on the team grow up with each other,” Sabrina Wilson, manager of the Sabres said.  “All the parents get along great and friendships have formed between these kids on the team.”

A public meeting with parents, coaches, members of the SHA, and Ward 37 Scarborough Councillor Michael Thompson is to be held on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Scarborough Village Arena in the village room to discuss the future of the SHA.  Erison and Wilson are asking the public to attend and support the SHA.

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