By Craig Westcott | The Irish Loop Post | Vol. 12 No. 03 (February 7 2019)
Jason Snelgrove counts himself a lucky man. Not only is he off on paternity leave from a teaching job in Labrador and celebrating the birth of his family’s second child, the break from school work means he is able to spend that time back in the Goulds pursuing his other passion, coaching the St. Kevin’s High School Mavericks hockey team.
Snelgrove returned to his position as head coach of the Mavs just before Christmas. He found a team that was performing well after having secured a couple of good placements in local tournaments, including a silver finish at one in Conception Bay South.
In the high school hockey league, Snelgrove noted, the team is playing well too, sitting at or near third place in the standings.
“They’re a pretty competitive group,” said Snelgrove. “They’re a hardworking group.”
The Mavs lost several skilled players last year who graduated high school, said Snelgrove, but a strong core remained. “We have some good players, don’t get me wrong,” he said.
The team is in good shape as it begins its latest tournament, the Confederation Cup. The Mavs dropped their first game on Wednesday night to Holy Heart, but are hoping for a better result Friday at 4 p.m. when they host the first of two games at the Goulds Arena that evening.
A good number of the tournament’s games are being played in the Goulds Arena this time around. “Hopefully it will give us a little bit of a home advantage,” Snelgrove said. After the dust settles on the Confederation Cup, the players and coaches are looking forward to a bit of fun time at the 4th Annual Alumni Classic. It’s set for Friday, February 15 at 6 to 8 p.m.
“We’ve put together a team of alumni all stars to take on the high school hockey team,” Snelgrove said.
The all stars are composed of players from their 20s to their late 40s or early 50s, almost all of them former Mavericks or coaches of Mavericks.
“They really enjoy it,” Snelgrove said of the high school charges who get to play against their coaches.
Snelgrove and some others started the Classic and two years ago integrated it into the Goulds Winter Carnival. They use proceeds from the games to raise money for charitable causes. To date they’ve raised and donated over $10,000, donating to such worthwhile causes as the late Nevaeh Denine’s Lemonade Stand. This year the goal is to raise $5,000 at the game through gate proceeds and ticket sweeps. Three causes will benefit this year, said Snelgrove, including a family from Petty Harbour – Maddox Cove that is dealing with medical issues, the Curtis Hudson Fund at Goulds Elementary and Special Olympics Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The community has really come on board,” Snelgrove said of its support for the Alumni Classic and fundraising effort.
You can see why Snelgrove feels so appreciative, something that’s clear in his voice as he talks about the high school team.
“Some people measure success in wins and losses and gold medals,” said Snelgrove. “But for me, it’s more than that… To coach the hockey team that I played for and to be part of the Alumni event now and going back… It’s been such a positive thing.”