Despite the ample roster of winter programming through schools and recreational organizations, Truckee has been an absent player in the realm of youth hockey.
Young winter athletes have had to travel to South Lake Tahoe and Roseville to play. Finally, they have an opportunity to play competitive hockey locally in the new youth hockey league started by the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District.
The first games started Jan. 9 and will continue on the ice rink at Truckee River Regional Park every Thursday from 3-7 p.m.
The upstart program led by TDRPD Youth Coordinator Angelo Tenorio and volunteer Hans Baumann has approximately 50 participants and eight coed teams sponsored by Davis Yoder Realty Group and Totally Board.
“We’ve had an interest for years, but this year we decided to go for it,” Tenorio said. “The kids in this town deserve a hockey program and a means to advance their skating skills to a more competitive level.”
The league includes two different age groups — 8-10 and 11-14 years — and four teams within each age group. All eight teams play within the four-hour block on Thursdays.
Each game is allotted a 10-minute warmup and two 12-minute running time periods with a five-minute halftime break. Most participants started in TDRPD’s “Skills and Drills,” an introductory hockey skating program that has been active for more than a decade.
Baumann, volunteer program coordinator and former supervisor to USA Hockey officials, referees all games. Since the teams play without a goalie, Baumann built specially modified goals customized for the players’ skills. Each hinged goal is about one-foot high, with a slot that resembles a goal on an air-hockey table.
“We don’t have a goalie because we’d rather involve all participants in bettering their skating and game-time skills,” Baumann said.