This is the first of a series of submissions outlining the value, the future, and a path for Junior hockey in Princeton.
The season ended two months ago. The snow has finally disappeared and people, rightfully so after such a long grey winter, are turning their heads to greener prospects. For the Posse organization, now is when the real work begins. Reflection is a powerful tool. While it is tempting to focus on what did not happen, a view on positive memories and events is essential in order to build future success. In no particular order, I wanted to lay down some of my favorite memories and events…
June 2012, the organization moved into the Coach Rotheisler era. Change brings uncertainty, but the new coaching staff (Including both Mark McNaughten and the departing Dave Clare) brought intensity, passion, energy, and their nonstop commitment to improvement that was infectious.
I should also include a huge thank you to Dave Clare – with appreciation we wish him well as he moves to the island and full retirement.
A new face brought a new look – the locker room upgrade, thanks to many volunteer hours. The hi-tech coaching approach complete with a huge TV monitor and countless team video breakdowns. To the organization of players every minute of the week. Looking around the league, the Posse’s coaching pantry was indeed fully stocked.
Princeton can be proud
Posse ran the first minor hockey camp in years last August. This was a huge hit with both local and visiting players.
Mark Aug. 17-20 on calendar for the 2014 Posse Minor Hockey Camp.
Three local players dressed for the Posse this season. Kraig Leochko was an early summer signing. Craig Thompson and Morton Johnston ( AP’ed from the 42-6-1 South Okanagan Midget Reps ) both suited up for the Posse and will be looking to return this August.
August main camp was as well attended in the stands as any in memory. Interest seemed high in the community.
Main Camp this summer will be August 27-31.
An urgent call for billet homes was answered almost overnight. Again many thanks to all the families who invited these young men into their homes!
Home opener weekend was a huge, huge success. Complete with Weyerhaeuser tent, pre-game Billy’s Steak’n’Prawns Tailgate Party ( completely sold out! ), live music by local blues band Kettle Valley Switchmen (Wow!), pre-game Posse bus route, and newly redecorated mezzanine/beer garden that extended outside in the glorious September afternoon.
Saturday night was followed by a Cooper’s Foods sponsored Smokie tailgate and Business Appreciation night. The building rocked all weekend before and during the games. Fans had a blast. The team played their heart out in a 4-3 win followed by an OT loss
Princeton had responded clearly to the question – can junior hockey survive in Princeton with a resounding YES!
JAE and VFE Student and Parent Day the next weekend followed visits by players and coaches to each classroom to extend free invites to game and postgame Skate with the Posse. Pizza by Pasha’s Pizza was served in the mezzanine. And the Party was on!
With huge success additional pre-game Tailgate parties were hosted by local establishments… Cooper’s Foods, Thomasina’s, Princeton Golf Course, CoCo’s Bistro. The concept was right and only outpaced by the onset of winter and lack of daylight.
Fans returned, the building vibrated on many nights. If the season ended early without a playoff run, fans were fortunate as the Posse certainly played their best hockey at the Corral.
The annual December noon Princeton School game reminded everyone why this is simply a must day to keep on the schedule. Anyone present saw the value and were simply blown away by the atmosphere. Hats off to organizers in previous years.
The season concluded Feb. 22 at home with a resounding 10-5 drubbing of Grand Forks. Eric Kubis set individual club scoring records for goals scored to add to his points record and the organization wishes him well. Equally impressive was the send-off by the fans for the 2014 Posse. The building rocked—without fanfare, without promotion—the community came out and gave the team and organization a send-off that was noteworthy and appreciated.
March 2013 the Posse held its first Spring ID camp for prospective players looking to a Junior career. Five local players participated.
June 2013, concern abounded as to the future of the Posse in Princeton. Eighteen people stepped up to consider and tackle this question.
Clearly junior hockey in a town of Princeton’s size is a luxury. It is not a right. It cannot survive on handouts. It is a community owned asset and as such must strive to add value to the community.
This season we saw the best of what Princeton has to offer and fans were rewarded with many evenings of simply just a good night out. The challenge is to learn from the positive evenings and grow into the evening entertainment hub during the fall and winter, This is the challenge for 2014.
Look for upcoming events—Posse Golf tournament and hopefully a Posse Slow Pitch Tournament (a volunteer to help organize would be amazing!) Combining fun with fundraising. What a concept!
Thank you Princeton volunteers, billet families, board members, sponsors and fans!
Dean Johnston, president Princeton Posse