Pelham hockey gains gubernatorial recognition

A pair of Pelham hockey teams recently rocked their competition while serving as ambassadors for the city, Shelby County and Alabama.

The Pelham Bantam Travel Hockey Team, a team composed of 13- and 14-year olds from the Pelham Youth Hockey League, recently earned a proclamation from Governor Bob Riley.

During the presentation, Riley declared the Pelham Civic Complex-based travel league the first-ever state ice hockey champions, and presented each player with a state proclamation honoring their achievements on the ice.

The city’s Pee-Wee Team, which is composed of 11-12-year-olds, was also declared co-state champions in their division alongside the Huntsville Chargers.

“We have a very good core group in both the pee-wee and bantam leagues,” said Pelham Hockey Director Jeff Cheeseman. “What a great thing for the governor to take the time to recognize us.”

Members of the travel team played against teams from across the country during the 2009-2010 season, and the local players served as “great representatives” for the city and the state, Cheeseman said.

“They not only served as great representatives for the club, but they also served as great representatives for the state and the city as well,” he said. “For those of us who work with the teams, is a great thing to see.”

Because the city serves more than 200 players ages 7 years old through high school, the Pelham league is helping to grow the traditionally northern sport in the South, Cheeseman said.

“For a small-market program, we are lucky to have the large participation that we have,” he said. “Hockey is really growing with the South. For the kids who really enjoy it, it’s great.”

The Pelham youth league is already gearing up for another season, and the Peham Civic Complex is sponsoring several skills and conditioning classes throughout the summer.

For more information about the league, registering for the classes or registering to play during the 2010-2011 season, visit Pyhl.org or call Cheeseman at the Pelham Civic Complex at 620-6448.