Estevan Minor Hockey Association's new president is excited about the state of the sport in the Energy City.

Stephan Truman took was nominated for the presidency in the board's spring elections, after chairing most of their meetings last season (as they did not have a president).

He said it's refreshing to go into a season without having to worry about COVID-19 restrictions.

"We're excited about working towards the first season in a while of normalcy. We're getting back to a non-COVID season. I think people still forget that last season we started the year under COVID regulations and rules and whatnot. So I think everybody's excited to get back to normal for a full season and see where we go from there."

Barring any changes, the upcoming season will be the first for the 18U AAA Estevan Bears where they don't have to worry about cancellations or restrictions.

"We're excited about the AAA Bears team, with their new coach Ryan Pilon coming in," Truman said. "And we're excited about working with the Bears and the Bruins for minor hockey."

EMHA had around 450 registrations in 2021-22. Truman hopes they're at or above that number for the coming season.

It helps when the community churns out talented players, such as Parker Bell. The 18-year-old forward was drafted in the fifth round by the Calgary Flames in this summer's NHL Entry Draft after posting 49 points in 64 games with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

"He's a kid that grew up through the Estevan Minor Hockey Association, so congrats to him," said Truman. "That's great to see coming out of our association at such a young age."

A lot has to happen on and off the ice for those success stories to happen. And Truman said EMHA is fortunate to have excellent partners.

"We really just want to have good relationships throughout the city. Whether it's our great sponsor base, our great volunteer base, with the City itself managing our facilities, we're just trying to work together with everyone to promote the city, promote Estevan Minor Hockey, and make it a positive place for everybody to be."

He said the board really appreciates being able to rely on neighbouring communities as well.

"Don't forget we put a strain on Lampman, Torquay, Bienfait's facilities. We recognize that. We hope we're helping them out as well as us helping us with the use of their facilities."

Truman added that there's been plenty to do even in the summer months, including hiring a new administrator that's transitioning into the job.

That's one of many roles people take to make youth hockey a reality for kids in the southeast.

"We're talking in the hundreds of people for volunteers, there's no doubt. We rely heavily on our parents, our referees, our off-ice officials. We've got a great undertaking throughout our volunteer base."