Hockey joining ARHS athletics in 2012

Dave Mathieson
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Student athlete Kathryn Hillier thanked Fred Gould for a job well done during the ARHS Sports Award Banquet. Gould is the ARHS athletic director but has retired as the regional director for the NSSAF, a job he did for seven years.

AMHERST – About 50 high schools in Nova Scotia are part of the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation hockey program, and starting in October Amherst Regional High School will be part of that program.

“We’ve been in meetings for over three months to lay out a plan and to address concerns,” said ARHS teacher and athletic director, Fred Gould.

The addition of hockey to ARHS was made public during the ARHS sports banquet.

 “We’re very happy we’re going to have a team and happy with the added school spirit it’s already brought since the announcement,” added Gould this week.

The hockey coaches are Wayne Mackenzie and Derek Hebert, who is a constable with the Amherst Police Department.

The season begins mid-October, with provincial banners being contested at the end of March.

“There are 40 or 45 games in the schedule,” said Gould.

They will compete against other teams in Nova Scotia.

“The New Brunswick League High School Hockey doesn’t register with Hockey Canada,” said Gould. “So we can play there, but they can’t play in other provinces.”

The closest school ARHS will compete against in Nova Scotia is Truro.

“There will be lots of travelling,” said Gould.

ARHS is getting into hockey because, “It’s something our students want,” said Gould.

Plus they have the numbers.

“We have a number of student in Grade 12 who are too old for minor hockey and we have a number of students who used to play minor hockey but don’t anymore,” said Gould.


Hockey will be funded like the 10 other sports teams at ARHS.

“Each team in the school has an account in the office,” said Gould. “Any money a team raises, whether it’s through fees, fundraisers or canteens or gate money, goes into that account.

“Any time they have bills, whether it’s for referees, rentals or gas, all the money comes out of that account,” added Gould.

At the end of the year ARHS wants each team to have a zero balance.

Money is also raised through Student Council.

“It’s about $6,000 to $8,000 a year divided between all the teams,” said Gould.  “The two big ways they raise money is through student ID cards and dances.”

The money isn’t divided evenly among the teams because some teams have a very long season, such as basketball, while other teams have a very short season, such as slopitch.

“The School Board doesn’t provide money for our school teams, it’s the teams themselves,” said Gould. “We have the gyms and the field but, as far as financial support, the school board doesn’t provide funding for sports.”

Funding for sports and the sports banquet also comes from basketball camps and other sports programs held throughout the year.

Does the school board pay Gould for being the athletic director?

“I’m a fulltime teacher here at the school and the athletic director is a volunteer position,” said Gould.

Before becoming athletic director four-and-a-half years ago, Gould coached girls’ basketball for more than 20 years at ARHS. Gould is passionate about sports.

“Sports gives kids opportunities, and it gives them fitness and many friendships,” said Gould. “And it helps keep them on track in school and helps them focus.”

A large part of Gould’s job as athletic director is to help the coaches organize tournaments and to keep coaches and the NSSAF in contact.

“The majority are outside coaches so they don’t have access to the paper work they need,” said Gould. “And I’ll relay all the information that comes from the NSSAF to the coaches, and relay any concerns the coaches have back to the NSSAF.”

But the biggest part of his job is keeping student athletes on track.


Beginning this year students will need to pass all their courses to remain in sports, and they have to have an acceptable amount of attendance as well.

“If a student is failing math we’ll sit down with the athlete,” said Gould. “We don’t want to take sports away from them, so we’ll work the student athlete to get their marks up and get them back on track.

“The motto is Education through Sports and education is listed first and that’s not by coincidence.”

There is no number on acceptable attendance.

“There may be a death in the family and they may be out for a week or a month,” said Gould.

Teachers call parents when any student miss six and 10 classes and a parent will have a meeting in the office if the student misses 15 classes. The student loses their course credit if they miss more than 20 classes.

Gould will try to nip attendance problems among athletes in the bud if it becomes too problematic.

“If a student misses five classes I’ll have a talk but if they had a wisdom tooth out and missed a few days it’s more legitimate,” he said.

Does Gould miss coaching?

“I coached basketball for over 20 years, so I do miss the connection you get with the kids but it’s still rewarding when you’re working with 200 students (athletes) instead of 12,” said Gould. “I enjoy being athletic director. It’s important for kids to stay active and they make friends from all parts of the Maritimes.”

He also thanks the coaches.

“We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of knowledgeable coaches,” said Gould. “High school is the highest level a lot of kids play, so you need as much knowledge as you can get.”


Gould said high school sports wouldn’t be possible without support from the community.

“Our community has been so gracious to support all our teams,” said Gould. “They donate stuff and sponsor tournaments and events. Amherst is a very tightknit community.”




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Recent comments

  • Johnny Hammasticks
    June 21, 2012 - 21:47

    John, a lot has changed in thirty years

    • Mike Noiles
      July 01, 2012 - 18:50

      This is WONDERFUL... being young enough or is that old enough to remember the high school spirit back in 1980...when ARHS would play CRVS...with many Amherst kids on that team..I as one of them, or the joy of the school when they would beat Springhill High or Pugwash High....this Johnny..who has lots to say behind a fake name...yes alot has changed in 30 yrs......electronics has numbers down in every sport...we need high school hockey back..another place for the NON-Crosbys to continue playing the game they LOVE...WTG Fred, wayne and derek for bring this back

    • johnny hammasticks
      July 26, 2012 - 17:41

      sorry mike, i will use less words

  • Anon
    June 20, 2012 - 13:19

    I don't think its fair in saying this program will take away from competitive hockey. None of the other sports in ARHS take away from other competitive sports. Fred and Wayne are doing an amazing job organizing this and you should be happy and proud to have such a beloved sport back in our school system! it brings many opportunities for students to bond and for students who might not be able to afford competitive leagues. Lets keep the negatives out! this is for the kids!

  • Jeremy K
    June 19, 2012 - 15:25

    I bet registration for a full season of high school hockey wont even come close to the price of minor hockey espeially at the provincial level , minor hockey would have alot more kids involved but there parents cant afford the price of it as much anymore , I think its great they have a chance to play in amherst they wont have to drive everytime for a practice or game heck they could walk to the rink from school

  • John Read
    June 14, 2012 - 11:46

    First of all its great to see High school hockey coming back to Arhs. I am a bit confused by the last comment. Obviously something has changed from 30 years ago when I played for the high school team. The team was made up entirely of guys that were too old for Midget rep and not quite there in skill level to play for the ramblers, Although a few of the guys did play for the ramblers at some point. To say that it would ruin competitive hockey at Bantam and Midget I think is short sighted. Unless Hockey participation has dropped way off in the last 30 years? And I think that Wayne will be a good enough coach that he won't take players who can play at those rep levels. Congrats to Fred and Arhs on the new Hockey program

  • Johnny Hammasticks
    June 13, 2012 - 22:02

    At least Cumberland County minor hockey won't be adversely affected by a high school team. Wait, yes they will be! This all but eliminates competitive hockey at the bantam and midget levels in Cumberland. It is hard enough to get kids committed when you are drawing from an entire county, so cutting it down to kids only in the Amherst area seems foolish. Lets hope I am eating my words next spring.

    • Another Two Cents
      June 14, 2012 - 10:24

      Obviously there seems to be a demand in the school for a hockey team. That is what the school is offering, a school based hockey team! What a better way to connect the students to the school through team sports. Good luck!

    • Jeremy k
      June 15, 2012 - 05:51

      I think this is a awesome. Hope it all works out and last a long long time