Apology about Eaglecrest Remark

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Referring to the article Friday (Chicks with Sticks are ready to face Geezers in Breezers) the Empire has me quoted as saying some things which I unquestionably did say, but which I realize did not come off in the way I would have liked, and I owe an apology to the hardworking people at Eaglecrest.

In hoping to see the rink and the game of hockey welcoming to everyone in the community, I made an offhand remark about Eaglecrest, "just rich kids enjoying the facility." The fact is I haven't been skiing for years and was thinking back to the first years it opened when, just like the ice arena, the people who tended to show up first were people who had already been exposed to the sport somewhere else. It would be disingenuous to say that such a group did not tend to come from middle and upper-middle class homes, where the considerable capital investment and expenses to maintain the sport were on hand. I'm sure that has changed over the years as I know the people at Eaglecrest have done a great job of making the facility open and accessible to everyone. For that I apologize.

All sports require not just money but a "culture" to support them. A big web of coaches and players, history, leagues, local heroes and lore must be built up over a considerable period of years to attract and support new participants. If you grew up in Juneau for instance, how would you have occasion to know anything at all about hockey (or, in past days, about downhill skiing)? Our effort in the Culture Club Hockey effort is simply to make sure that any kid who thinks hockey might be interesting gets a chance to give it a try, and that we don't leave 30 or 40 percent of the potential hockey talent pool on the table simply because of a lack of exposure or finances.

If you or your kids haven't taken advantage of either of these wonderful facilities which are really local treasures, you really should get in touch with someone and give it a spin. I'm very sorry if my careless remarks detracted in anyway from that hope.

Bill Spear


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