By Joe Bachman
Hockey is alive and well in Wisconsin Rapids, and this goes for all ages.
The “MITES Jamboree” is a day of hockey games and competitions for ages 3-8. More importantly, the day is a fundraiser for the South Wood County Youth Hockey Association.
12 teams and 280 kids from all over the state will be taking part in cross-ice games and skills competitions on Feb. 18-19. On hand for both days will be local vendors and concession stands, raffle baskets, as well as pizza provided by Politos. All proceeds go to Rapids area youth hockey.
“It’s fun; you can go see so many different teams,” said Event Coordinator Alison Graf. “The jamboree is one of our larger fundraisers, and it brings in quite a crowd.”
While this event coincides with a night of hockey, as the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings play their final home game of the season following the first day of the jamboree, the event will undoubtedly create new and lasting friendships.
“The friendships on the ice last even off the ice,” said parent Emily Stieve. “It’s another opportunity to meet other people in the community — it’s a really special group to be a part of.”
The games are based on three levels of skill throughout the weekend. On Saturday, blue and white level skaters take the ice to play 3-on-3 cross ice games, and on Sunday, red level skaters will play 4-on-4 half ice games. While the games may be short, the effects are lasting, as many kids will continue to play hockey through the years.
“A lot of kids do continue, and they’re creating friendships in the process,” said Stieve. “It’s really great for the coaches — it’s an opportunity to be a mentoring figure for the kids — you watch them grow up on and off the ice.”
The South Wood County Recreation Center is located at 2711 16th St. South. For more information on the event, please check out their Facebook event page. https://www.facebook.com/events/345001262545885/
Special Note: The 7th annual Sportsman’s Banquet will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the Ridges Golf Course at 5:00 p.m. Proceeds will benefit Rapids area youth hockey. There will be over $20,000 in raffles and door prizes. Tickets are $60.
For more information, please visit swcyha.org