GILBERTSVILLE PA – Don’t be alarmed if you see “chipmunks” playing hockey this fall. The Pottstown Area Police Athletic League (PAL) is expanding its dek hockey program to create a new instructional program, named the “Chipmunk League,” for 4- and 5-year-olds, it announced Friday (Aug. 10, 2018).
The new initiative focuses on pre-K and kindergarten students in part because of efforts by the New Hanover Township Parks and Recreation Department. The Chipmunk League will be held at the dek in New Hanover Community Park, 2766 Gail Drive, while regular leagues will continue to play in West Pottsgrove at the elementary school, 25 Grosstown Rd., Stowe.
The fledglings will play two nights weekly for 16 sessions. They will have on-rink instruction from coaches, divided into skills groups, drills, and scrimmages. The goal is to allow for more playing time and better development by playing with others close in age.
Registration is available online, at a cost of $55 for the chipmunk program and $75 for regular leagues. PAL also continues its tradition of having equipment available to rent for all sizes, as players need helmet, gloves, elbow pads, leg pads, and a stick. For more information, call the PAL office, 146 King St., Pottstown. at 610-327-0527 or send an e-mail to Program Director Darren Becker.
PAL is utilizing local expertise – in the form of Alvernia University’s men’s ice hockey head coach Steve Rowe – to start the new program. Pottstown PAL is also working with Schuylkill Valley Sports and Mylec Hockey Inc. to provide a free stick for these players, as well as the team shirt all players receive.
PAL dek hockey will conduct its 30th season this fall. Since its inception in 1996, its operations have grown to be the largest Pottstown PAL program, and the largest intramural sneaker hockey league in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Boys and girls from ages 6-18 are divided into co-ed intramural leagues of four to seven teams each, with games played outdoors at the West Pottsgrove Elementary School dek. Teams hold practices one night a week, and play regular season games on the weekends; older divisions in the morning, youngest in the afternoon. Seasons end with in double-elimination playoffs for all teams, followed by parent-kid games and parties.
With more than 300 players, PAL Dek Hockey expanded this summer partnered with the ice hockey Pottstown Penguins for a twice-weekly development camp for ages 4-10.
Photo from Pottstown PAL