Swift Current Minor Hockey's brand new half boards were on display for the second time this weekend for the U7 age division tournament.
The major equipment upgrade was made possible thanks to a partnership between Swift Current Minor Hockey and the Edmonton Oilers Colby’s Kids program.
Scott Cassidy, the Half Boards Fundraising Chair for Swift Current Minor Hockey, credits the partnership to Colby Cave’s former billet mom, Kim Larson, as well as the former Bronco’s widow, Emily Cave.
“It was all driven through Kim Larson, she was a believer in the project from the get-go,” he stated. “Her own kids play hockey in this young age division, where we'd go to these other surrounding small town communities and they would have these half boards set up and Swift Current didn't have them. So, we knew this is something that we need to do. She got behind it right away and then through her connections with Emily Cave and the Colby Cave Foundation, the project was born.”
Colby’s Kids was developed off of the Oilers 2nd stride program and provides opportunities for accessible and affordable learn-to-play programs.
The rebrand was made after the Edmonton Oilers forward and former Broncos captain suffered a brain bleed in 2020 and passed away at the age of 25.
“He wasn't here a long time in Edmonton, but he certainly left an impression on our community and our players, so we wanted to rename the program after Colby,” stated Director of Hockey Engagement and Alumni Relations at Oilers Entertainment Group, Patrick Garland. “It's just a really fantastic program that allows kids to participate and try hockey at a very inexpensive amount, which is always a barrier for getting kids on the ice. So, we really wanted to focus on keeping it affordable for parents.
“It’s a great program, it’s been great in our community, and we've really tried to expand, we run it in the Battlefords, where Colby grew up, in Saskatoon, and we're looking to get into Swift Current, hopefully very soon.”
Garland added that the partnership between Colby’s Kids and Swift Current Minor Hockey is the first of its kind.
“Emily Cave reached out to me a few months ago and asked about Swift Current Minor Hockey using our logo for the boards and it was a quick, ‘absolutely, happy to help’ and we gave them access to use the logo for their half boards.”
Cave, who runs the Memorial Fund, said that it was important for her to keep Colby’s name alive in Swift Current.
“Colby played in Swift Current for quite a few years, he loved his time in Swift Current, he made such an impact there,” she elaborated. Swift Current was a special place for Colby, and I wanted to honour Colby and still keep his name and his legacy there too.”
She added that it would not have been possible without the continued love and support of Colby’s Swift Current billet family.
“His billet family was a huge part of his life, and still is a huge part of my life. They get a lot of credit in this too, if it wasn't for their support, all that they did for Colby, and all that they continue to do for me and the Memorial Fund, it wouldn't be happening either.”
Hockey Canada and Hockey Saskatchewan implemented changes for the age divisions of U7 and U9, that all sanctioned tournaments and games must be played on a half-ice format.
The half-ice format is designed to give young hockey players a better opportunity to develop and work on their skills.
The new half boards are expected to last for 20 years.