While the Reformer hoards its youth sports coverage for the high school teams, the Brattleboro Hockey Association (BHA) has once again brought statewide recognition to local youth with not one but two state championships. Our 9 and 10-olds, and our 11 and 12-year-olds, have each beaten teams from Burlington, Rutland, Essex, and the rest of the state to bring the trophies home to Brattleboro. Windham County often gets little respect from upstate ("Go back to Massachusetts", we've been told), but things like this force others to recognize our area.
The success of local youth hockey teams out of all proportion to our population is not an accident. It is due to a great deal of support and organization from parents and sponsors, and of course to the devotion of the kids. In particular, Debbie Gassaway-Hayward, hockey mom and president of BHA, has built the organization into one of the best in Vermont and western Massachusetts.
Ice hockey has been keeping these kids fit during the house-bound winter months, giving them a constructive outlet for their energy. It's also a whole lot of fun.
To be sure, hockey costs money, but BHA has some funds and equipment for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. BHA has also taken kids who couldn't even skate, and trained them into great athletes, lovers of the game, and state champions to boot. The players learn to win by working together, a skill that applies to other areas of life outside of hockey.
Readers should know about what's been going on at our local rink, and how area kids are earning recognition from Burlington to northern Connecticut. Kids and parents in and around Brattleboro should know that this opportunity is open to them as well.