Hockey league gears up for longest season

Sun Peaks Hockey League celebrates 10th anniversary season. Photo Supplied

Thursday nights in the village are about to get a lot more entertaining as the Sun Peaks Hockey League (SPHL) prepares for its 10th season. Building off momentum from last season’s success, Mike Billheimer, league organizer, is anticipating a lengthy season.

“We’re still working on our scheduling, but it looks like we’re going to have our longest season ever,” he said. “We’re looking at scheduling 11 weeks. Last year we scheduled 10 weeks which was our longest season ever. It was the first season that we didn’t suffer cancellation due to weather or problems with the facility.”  

The program which started as a Sun Peaks Resort LLP employee league has grown from six teams to 12 teams and is now a public rec league with three divisions.

“It’s overwhelming. I don’t think I ever imagined it’d go this long or be this successful.”

Introducing the intermediate category last season, Billheimer said he plans to continue to build the division while keeping the league focused on social matches as opposed to a competitive league.

“We’re not really going to change the format anyway this year. We’re just going to …really appreciate that we’ve been doing this for 10 seasons now,” he stated.

Given the nature of the community, the league’s novice division provides an opportunity for seasonal workers to learn Canada’s favourite winter sport and meet new people. With the league providing sticks, jerseys and skate rentals, those looking to get involved just need their own helmet and gloves.

“Ninety per cent of the people in the league are getting to know everybody else, so it’s individual registration for the most part,” said Billheimer.

Registration opens Nov. 9 with an open roster sign up at Guest Services in the Village Day Lodge.  

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