By Angela Jones
Information from ‘Remembering Times Wadena and Area dating back to 1882’ history book.
All quotes taken from Remembering Times
Minor Hockey in Wadena
The relationship between the local Kinsmen Club and Wadena Minor Sports has always been strong. In the early years, minor hockey depended upon whomever stepped up to organize the games – and the weather. Games were played only in February or March because travel was difficult and it was too cold for the young players during other times of the year. Then, as now, local volunteers joined together to address and serve the communities greatest needs under the name of the Kinsmen. Organized hockey began in 1947 when the local Kinsmen took over sponsorship. They set up four local teams: the Leafs, Rangers, Bruins and Blackhawks. The Kinsmen provided the coaching, refereeing and things such as goalie equipment. They also organized out-of-town games, provided transportation and numerous other things to help make hockey accessible to a greater number of kids. In 1963, after the new recreation centre was built, a playing coach was hired by the Wildcats under the arrangement that he would run the minor hockey program. The Kinsmen supported this position by contributing to his salary. Larry Barabonoff held this position until 1967. When he left, Gary McPeak and Dwight Magnuson took over. In 1969, Ken Maxwell was hired as a coach of the Wildcats, part-time rec director and head of the minor sports program.