With the pandemic delaying the hockey season; it was all smiles when the Spooner Area Youth Hockey Association’s Learn to Play Hockey Skaters donned a Rails Jersey for the first time on Sunday February 7th, 2021 for their first Jamboree of the season. The future of hockey in the Spooner area is bright! The littlest of the little skaters who have been practicing since the ice was open at The Spooner Civic Center on December 1st, played their first games this past weekend. The Jamboree took place in Hayward with Hayward, Spooner, Rice Lake, and Barron participating. Although scores are not kept at Jamborees, if you ask the Spooner kids - “they won!”
The Spooner area also “won” when The Spooner Area Youth Hockey Association (SAYHA) and the Wisconsin Lumberjacks entered into a lease agreement and started operating the Spooner Civic Center in June of 2020. Carrie Romsos, SAYHA President stated “SAYHA’s business plan for the Spooner Civic Center includes operating the Spooner Civic Center through the next three years and an option for an additional three years.” SAYHA has been the consistent user group of the Spooner Civic Center since the building was built 30 years ago. “This season has been especially challenging with COVID-19 policies and procedures that changed the way operations have been done at the rink” says Romsos. “We hold the safety of our skaters and spectors as a top priority with sanitizing foggers, mask and social distancing requirements and following the quarantine policies of the county and the Spooner School District.” “SAYHA skaters have been able to enjoy hockey this season with some sense of normality and have adapted to masking wear on the ice well.”
SAYHA registered and has consistently had 144 skaters on the ice this season from Learn to Skate all the way through 9th grade Bantam level. The skaters have participated in home games at the Spooner Civic Center and away games in surrounding communities where COVID policies have varied. Many of the players have been seen dressing in the back of SUV’s or outside of hockey rinks this season. Romsos states “they have adapted well to all aspects of the COVID season and are just excited to get the opportunity to play.”
Fans who agree to wear a mask and social distance are allowed at youth hockey games as well as junior hockey games due to the large facility that is The Spooner Civic Center. This season the Minnesota Moose Junior Hockey Team is temporarily calling the Spooner Civic Center their home and they will continue playing at the Civic Center through mid March with playoff games a reality! In addition, look for information on “Try Hockey Day” and additional youth tournaments that will be added in March. The Wisconsin Lumberjacks are already in the planning stages for their 2021-2022 season and are hosting AAA teams and camps this summer.
Romsos states “ice is expected to remain in until April. Look for community open skates and community open hockey times to be added to the Spooner Civic Center schedule. And, don’t forget to get out and utilize the outdoor rink at City Park on College Street in Spooner, as SAYHA maintains those rinks for the enjoyment of the community The future is bright!”