Bothwell Hoping For Final Hurrah Before Saying Goodbye

Bothwell Blase Minor HockeyAlthough Bothwell Minor Hockey Association will close their doors following this season, the small community on the edge of Chatham-Kent has the opportunity to go out with a bang, as their Midget team has advanced to the OMHA “E” Finals against Port Carling.

According to long time Bothwell coach Brian Wright, who also serves as a coach with the Bothwell Midget team, this team advancing to the OMHA final is not only important due to the fact this is Bothwell Minor Hockey’s final season, but also because it is an event the town of roughly 900 citizens can rally behind,

“Not only is this important in the final year, although it’s even more special now,” said Wright, “For the people that play hockey here, watch hockey, coach, or have been a part of this organization it’s a great moment.”

“It brings the community together I’ve seen it before when a team reaches this level. It’s a small town, and it brings our community together, bringing people into the arena who might not normally come out. But they are there to support the team and the town.”

Following the conclusion of this season, Bothwell Minor Hockey will go the way of other small, rural organizations in recent seasons, choosing amalgamation as a means of survival. Bothwell will join Glencoe next season forming a new Minor Hockey organization.

For some, such as Alex Kirschner, who plays minor hockey in Bothwell for the Midgets, but attends high school in Glencoe, the move would be an easy transition. Kirschner was a member of the Chatham-Kent Cyclones Minor Midget program last season, but moved to Bothwell to play after no Major Midget ‘AAA’ program was offered.

Kirschner is one of the Bothwell midgets team leaders this season, along with captain and hometown boy Bryce Broad, and Alex Ritchie, who also attends Glencoe District High School, and played 20 games for the Dresden Jr. Kings this season scoring 3 goals and adding 6 assists.

The series will begin Friday night at 8:40pm, and again in Bothwell Saturday at 3:30pm. The series will then be played in Port Carling for the next three games before returning to Bothwell for the final game if necessary on March 30.

Last season both the Bothwell Bantam and Midget teams played Port Carling, losing each time. Port Carling has 85 kids in their organization and 3 teams made the OMHA semi-finals this season, with two already moving on to the OMHA finals, and the third playing a sixth and deciding game to potentially advance to the final.

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    It is disheartening to see Bothwell lose it’s hometown hockey team. While players will have the opportunity to continue in their sport, they will not be playing in Bothwell. That sort of loses that hometown touch.
    How much of this was the fault of the cost of ice time?
    We know that the population is decreasing and families are hard pressed to pay the costs for being involved in a sport that builds character.
    But, could the municipatlity have helped save Bothwell Minor Hockey?
    For those who have read this far, if you think this only affects Bothwell, keep in mind that the municipality creates their ice time budget based on 11 arenas in CK. If one folds, the rest have to pay more to make up the deficit unless the arena is closed.
    This WILL affect all ice using clubs in Chatham Kent! If a few more hockey clubs are forced to amalgamate with cities outside of CK, then the domino effect will cause other ice sports to either raise prices or close up.
    It’s not just about Bothwell losing a hockey club, it’s what it means to all of hockey and figure skating in Chatham Kent.