Ice is out at area arenas and skates and sticks are packed away, but that doesn’t mean an end to the sports calendar on the North Island.
It’s merely an invitation for spring athletics to step forward.
Practices opened this week for teams in the North Vancouver Island Baseball League, which has set a tentative opening date of May 1. On that day, Port McNeill will host Port Hardy at Hyde Creek Ballpark for the first game on a 16-game schedule.
The season will continue through the annual playoff tournament July 20-24 at Hyde Creek.
The Sointula Recreation Association will once again host its annual invitational baseball tournament on May long weekend, beginning May 21. The tourney features both local teams and several who travel from down-Island, along with former locals who return for the homecoming event.
The Tri-Port Motorbike and ATV club is gearing up for its third straight year hosting Vancouver Island Motocross spring series points racing at 7 Mile Track just south of the Highway 30 turnoff to Port Alice.
The first racing of the year at 7 Mile will take place May 21-22, and is a qualifier for the Canadian Amateur Motorsports Championships in Raymond, Alta., June 29-July 2.
“That’s gonna draw all the top names from all over to compete here,” club official Mark Ellis said.
Volunteer work parties have spent numerous hours preparing the track, making some alterations to the course and readying the starting line for installation of a roof which will be unique on Vancouver Island tracks.
The club, which formed prior to the 2009 season, has hosted riders from throughout the Island in both spring and fall series races, and Ellis said it plans to hold several rider clinics with visiting pros this summer. He would also like to see a North-South challenge set up involving Victoria-area riding clubs.
Practice rides are held each Wednesday, weather permitting, and weekend work parties are expected to continue leading up to race week.
To join the club, to volunteer or for other information, call Ellis at 250-956-9873.
Port McNeill Slo-pitch is putting out the call to teams, players and umpires interested in taking part in the 2011 season.
A new wrinkle is being added this year in the form of a “pickup roster” for players who cannot commit to the full May-July season or who want to play only a few games.
For prospective umpires, training will be provided and umpires are paid on a per-game basis.
A registration session will be held Wednesday, Apr. 6 at Broughton Curling Club in Port McNeill. For more information, call Orma McDonald at 250-956-3345
In Port Hardy, the annual Icebreaker Classic Slo-Pitch tournament has been tentatively set for the weekend of May 6-8. To sign up a team for the tournament or to get additional information on joining Port Hardy Slo-Pitch this season call David Deans at 250-949-7221.