Mohawk Valley Hockey Club Seeks Its Own Rink

The Mohawk Valley Hockey Club is attempting to build the first dek hockey rink in central New York.

The Mohawk Valley Hockey Club (MVHC) was formed in Herkimer County (NY) in 2016 as a way to organize ball hockey games for old friends who had played the game years prior to its formation. Their first game as the MVHC was on June 5th, 2016 at the Youth and Family Center of the Mohawk Valley – which was then known as the YMCA of the Mohawk Valley. The eleven players that day had so much fun they decided to do it again the following week, and before long the Mohawk Valley Hockey Club was here to stay.

With the adult hockey program gaining popularity, some of the original members of the MVHC decided to form a youth ball hockey program. With no previous youth hockey program to draw any experience from, this program was literally built from the ground up. This program was open to boys and girls ages 6-13, and on January 7th, 2017, the first season of the Mohawk Valley Hockey Club Youth Ball Program began with fifty participants. This program also took place at the Youth and Family Center and was held every Saturday for ten weeks.

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Both the adult and youth programs continued to grow over the next few years. The MVHC added a summer outdoor youth program that was held at the Montgomery Street Playground in Ilion and was free of charge to the participants. The winter program was expanded to include four and five years old children. This would necessitate the program to be split into three age groups, and by 2019 one hundred players were playing MVHC Youth Hockey. The rapidly growing program was now also taking place at the Youth and Family Center and at the Pathways Academy in Ilion.

Action from the MVHC Youth Hockey Program.

The adult hockey program made an addition as well. Club members had received word of a sick child in the area whose illness required several trips to Cincinnati, Ohio for treatment. Wanting to help the child’s family with the overwhelming cost of these trips, the Mohawk Valley Hockey Club organized its first “Big Assist” tournament to help raise funds for the child. Sponsorships and donations were gathered by the club and with four teams participating in the first tournament, nearly $1,000 was raised. A second tournament was held the following year with the proceeds from that one going to Hockey Fights T1D, an organization that is part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Action from the Big Assist Tournament.

Going into the year 2020, the Mohawk Valley Hockey Club had already begun to make plans to build its own dek hockey rink. The Pathways Academy and Youth and Family Center of the Mohawk Valley had been gracious hosts through the years, but for the MVHC to continue growing its programs, the club needs its own actual rink. Progress to that end was being made until March of 2020 when of the course the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed life as everyone knew it. The MVHC was forced to shut down its programs for nearly two years, and it appeared the dream of having a rink was gone.

All was not lost, however. Despite the bleak period caused by the pandemic, the MVHC was able to partner up with the EMPowerPlay Project during this time and the possibility of getting a dek hockey rink was once again alive. The EMPowerPlay Project is an organization dedicated to growing the sport of dek hockey, and one of the ways they do so is by helping organizations like the Mohawk Valley Hockey Club construct rinks so that everyone truly has a chance to play and experience the sport. You can learn more about the EMPowerPlay Project here: http://empowerplayproject.com.

The location of this rink has already been determined. Thanks to the generosity of the Herkimer County Sewer District, the rink will go on the site of the former Mohawk AYSO soccer field along NYS State Route 5s and the newly constructed bike trail in Mohawk.

To get this rink project going, the EMPowerPlay Project and Mohawk Valley Hockey Club will be hosting a virtual town hall in a zoom call format on Thursday, April 28th at 7:00. pm EDT. This is for anyone who has an interest in and/or wants to be a part of this project. The MVHC and EMPowerPlay Project encourages any questions anyone might have about the project to please join the town hall and ask them. Above all, the MVHC needs involvement from the community to make this project a reality, so the importance of the information to be provided in this town hall cannot be stressed enough.

There is a registration process for the town hall meeting (free of charge of course). To register for the meeting, the link is pinned to the top of the MVHC Youth Hockey Facebook page at Mohawk Valley Hockey Club – Youth. It can also be found at https://mohawkvalleyhockeyclub.joomla.com/index.php.

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