Any youth sports organization is only as strong as its volunteers. And one of the most important aspects of perpetuating a successful program is a continued infusion of new players at the youngest levels, as those players will grow to be the backbone of the program in future seasons.
Mike Whitlock, his wife Kim, and their sons Alex, a 2007 on the Mite Sky (UA) team, and Crosby, a 2010 mini-mite, have already been part of the Predator family for several season.
For the past 2 seasons, Mike has spearheaded a grass roots effort to bring new players to the game at the youngest levels. He has done this through promoting the program to local elementary schools, preschools, and churches.
Starting 2 seasons ago, Mike, with help of House Director Leo Mullin and other volunteers, started a free hockey program. The program offers free hockey to new players Saturday mornings through the spring and summer. All equipment, including skates, was provided to participants. Some weekends as many as 40 kids were provided the opportunity to try the game of hockey for free.
Mike has also help organize Mite tournaments as well as mini-mite jamborees for the program. This will be the 3rd season that the Haymarket Iceplex will host a Thanksgiving “Turkey Cup,” drawing teams from not only local clubs, but also teams from Roanoke and New Jersey.
Mike celebrated his 45th birthday this past weekend. It was well attended by his Predator family. Happy birthday Mike, and thanks for all that you do!