Dickinson men’s hockey rec league growing with players who work Oil PatchA majority of fantasy football owners are done with their drafts. But there’s still one place, no matter the level of knowledge or skill, where someone in Dickinson can still be a part of a draft in a sport involving pads — just a different kind.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
A majority of fantasy football owners are done with their drafts.
There’s still one place, no matter the level of knowledge or skill, where someone in Dickinson can still be a part of a draft in a sport involving pads — just a different kind.
The Dickinson men’s hockey league’s draft is coming soon and the group is preparing for record-high numbers this season.
“A lot of the times, it’s the luck of the draw, because we don’t know half the guys are that even out there,” Dickinson’s Brad Willer said. “A lot guys from out of state and some of the guys that were picked last were some of the best skaters out there.”
The reason why Willer and the rest of the teams from Dickinson don’t know most of skaters coming into the league is because of the population influx in the Oil Patch. Willer said it’s always positive when people are willing to partake in Dickinson activities.
“It’s definitely good,” he said. “It’s an easy way to meet people in the community. It doesn’t matter if the kid is 18 and right out of high school or 65, it’s just nice to get out and play.”
Willar said many new players are coming from Canada, Minnesota and Michigan.
Jeff Haapapuro is one of those skaters from Michigan. He said it’s different from skating back home, but is a good way to make new friends.
“Being not from around here, the only other people I knew, I worked with,” said Haapapuro, who works for Diamond H Services LLC. “It was a way to meet people.”
The way the draft process works is — after registering with the Dickinson men’s hockey league and USA Hockey — a skater rates himself from one to five. Last year, there were four teams in the league, but Willarhopes to expand the league due the increase in population.
“Three years ago we started a league with four teams,” he said. “This year we’re hoping for five to six teams. There were 49 skaters last year and this year we are hoping for 60.”
“The more the merrier,” Haapapuro added with a laugh. “You never want to turn down anyone.”
The league’s season starts in mid-October and lasts until the second week of March. Games are every Wednesday and Sunday. If a skater isn’t able to make every game, Willer said that shouldn’t discourage them from joining.
“We don’t really get full rosters all the time,” he said. “At least 90 percent of the people miss one or two games.”
Dickinson native Cam Wychenko, who started up the original recreation hockey league, said it has been great to see the numbers grow.
“It’s really come along well,” he said. “We’ve had a number of guys start to skate. We had four teams last year and we’d like to expand it if we got more numbers.”
The most surprising additions, Wychenko said, in the last couple years has been from former Dickinson State baseball players.
“We have a number of guys in the past who have been baseball players for DSU,” Wychenko said. “DSU must have a pipeline for recruiting baseball players from Canada.
“Of course, every Canadian skates,” he added with a laugh.
The cost of joining the league is $200, but Willer said that price should go down in years to follow. It also costs 50 dollars to register with USA Hockey.
“The costs will go down, it’s just that this year we’re going to buy nice jerseys that are going to last five years,” Willer said. “The cost will probably be 100 dollars to register next year. Hockey isn’t cheap.”