In the early 1960's a program of amateur youth ice hockey began to take shape under the leadership and inspiration of Messrs. Charlie Plitt and Mike Martin. These early efforts centered around the outdoor ice rink at Baltimore' s Memorial Stadium and evolved into the Baltimore Boys' Hockey Program (BBHP). The program shifted its place of operations to the newly constructed Orchard Ice Rink in Towson, Maryland in 1964. In these earlier years, the BBHP constituted the only amateur youth ice hockey organization in the State of Maryland.
Through the late 1960's, the Baltimore Boys' Hockey Program grew and prospered at the Orchard Rink. House leagues, consisting of four teams each, for the Squirt through Midget/Juvenile Divisions, were operated on an annual basis. In addition, the BBHP sponsored competitive "All-Star" teams selected from the players in the various house divisions. These teams competed on a very successful basis throughout the East Coast and as far away as Canada.
By 1973 the construction of new ice rinks and the rise of new hockey programs in the Maryland area caused a temporary decline in the number of skaters participating in the BBHP and in the overall quality of the program itself.
As a result, the program was reorganized and rechristened with a new name in the spring of 1977. A corporate charter and by-laws were filed with the State of Maryland creating the Orchard Youth Hockey Club, Inc. Program colors and a new program logo were adopted. Finally, the Orchard Youth Hockey Club sought and was granted admission to the Capital Beltway Hockey League (CBHL) .
The program thrived and grew in numbers. The four-team house leagues remained as the bedrock of our organization. In addition, our competitive travel teams, the Orchard Mercurys, competed very successfully in the CBHL and have traveled for tournament competition in several adjoining states. A well developed instructional clinic for Atoms (ages 3-6) and Mites (ages 7-8) was added to the program and attracted large numbers of new skaters each year.
With the conversion of the Orchard Rink to roller skating in 1983 the club faced the struggle of not having a home rink but was able to overcome it with aid from Baltimore City and a newly built ice rink, Mt. Pleasant Ice Arena. Again the club reorganized to reflect the changing times as the Baltimore Youth Hockey Club (BYHC) and changed the name of its flagship teams to the Baltimore Stars.
In 2005 the club recognized the increased interest of girls in the sport and established a new team, the Susquehanna Rapids, by combining efforts with other area clubs. The Rapids experienced great success and played at an elite level for several years as girls continued to become involved. As expected the positive growth spread to other clubs eventually eroding the Rapids elite status. The Rapids are now known as the Baltimore Rapids and are solely part of the BYHC.
All the while, the club continues to grow and field competitive teams. The Atom and Mite program continues to keep the club competitive by having between sixty and one hundred participants every year.
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