Prep pulse: Sept. 10, 2018

Prep pulse: Sept. 10, 2018

The Danville Heat is no more.

Don't worry, fans of Vermilion County youth hockey. The program isn't shutting down. It's just going through a rebranding process.

The Danville Jr. Dashers will bring hockey for youngsters between the ages of 4 through 17 as a partner of the Danville Dashers, a Federal Hockey League club that plays in David S. Palmer Arena and most recently captured the Commissioner's Cup in 2017.

The Fuel emerged in affiliation with the Danville Inferno junior hockey club, which started operations in 2008. But that squad moved to Indianapolis in 2010, and the present-day Dashers began their Danville-based competition in 2011.

"The fan base has just exploded in the past two years," said Jake Serd, Danville Youth Hockey's president. "We decided with the Dashers looking like they have a permanent home here ... to get together with those guys and get a plan with how we can team up."

The only way in which Danville Youth Hockey will look different this upcoming campaign is through a a fierce-looking deer logo and organization colors of black, orange and white — all in line with the Dashers' getup.

Beyond that, Danville Youth Hockey is offering six levels: Minorhawks (4-6 years), Mite (7-8), Squirt (9-10), Peewee (11-12), Bantam (13-14) and Midget (15-17). Minorhawks athletes will have their equipment provided to them, and those sessions cost $75. For all other levels, the cost is $550 for a full season.

Signups for the 2018-19 season will take place Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. and Sunday from 5-6:30 p.m. at David S. Palmer Arena.

"All of our prices mostly are based on on-ice fees," Serd said. "You might go to a place like Chicago, to rent one hour of ice is $500. I have friends up in Chicago, and it costs $3,500 a year for their kids to play."

Numbers have slowly but steadily increased in recent years for Danville Youth Hockey, which Serd estimates included about 50 individuals last year. Each team is guaranteed to play at least eight home games and eight road tilts.

"We're able to offer hockey from the beginning through high school," Serd said. "Almost all people say, 'We didn't know there was youth hockey here.'"