Local minor hockey associations trying to solve boundary challenges, News (Hamilton Huskies)

PrintNews Article
Click to view full-size image
Local minor hockey associations trying to solve boundary challenges
Submitted By Web Admin on Thursday, December 28, 2017
Dundas, Stoney Creek, Flamborough, Huskies frustrated by lack of action to save programs

SPORTS     Dec 27, 2017 by Craig Campbell  Dundas Star News

Click here to view entire Hamilton News article


A coalition of individual minor hockey associations from across Hamilton are working together — and separately — to try and convince the Ontario Minor Hockey Association to let them fix what they say are “archaic” boundary and residency rules that threaten the future of minor hockey in the city.

Dundas, Stoney Creek, and Flamborough associations, with support from the Hamilton Huskies, have each applied to change their member partner affiliation from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) to Alliance Hockey. The Huskies, already an Alliance member, have also submitted a strategic alliance partnership agreement with Stoney Creek minor hockey, effective on the association’s move to the Alliance.

At its core, the effort by the four local associations is intended to improve access to minor hockey for kids across Hamilton. Currently, boys in Dundas cannot play competitive hockey in Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Flamborough, Westdale, or any other area of Hamilton, even if that means having to fold a team due to a lack of players. It’s the same for each association and has already forced cancellation of teams because associations are unable to bring in available kids to fill out a roster. Meanwhile, kids who want to play at a higher level often can’t — because that level may not be available in the association they are required to play in.

“The bureaucracy restricts the ability to move,” said Stoney Creek minor hockey president Steve Johnson.

Other minor sports in Hamilton — including girls hockey — do not have the same boundary and movement restrictions.

Representatives of the four associations say that’s led to some kids being forced to play house league, or leaving for nearby unsanctioned private minor hockey programs. In some cases, less qualified players are moved up to play rep so a team can exist.

“If you can stand and skate you can join a rep team in Dundas,” said Dave Ferris of the valley town’s minor hockey organization.

Already this season, Dundas has folded three representative, or competitive, teams. Stoney Creek also has teams that had to be cancelled. Flamborough would have had to fold a team — if volunteers from two organizations had not successfully worked out a one-time, Band-Aid solution.

“I needed assistance last year before we started building our teams,” said Dundas minor hockey president Kristina Dodd. “I didn’t get a response (from the OMHA). We needed help and we didn’t get it.”

The individual associations started talking about the boundary and movement issues in the fall of 2016. Flamborough, in the OMHA, was struggling to fill a Midget AA team and the Huskies, in the Alliance, had extra players.

Huskies general manager Mike Spadafora said the effort to move a few players, giving them a chance to play and saving the Flamborough team, took four people — representatives of the two oversight bodies and the two local associations — and more than 25 emails back-and-forth to finally get it done.

“People started talking,” Spadafora said.

Almost a year and a half ago, the Hamilton Hockey Forum was born. All the associations wanted to allow that kind of movement on a more regular basis, without the big struggle and bureaucratic roadblocks. But the individual associations all said they haven’t made any progress with the OMHA. They say their pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears, so far.

A meeting has been set for Jan. 6, apparently including the OMHA, Alliance and local minor hockey associations, to discuss challenges facing local minor hockey.

In response to an emailed list of questions, OMHA executive director Ian Taylor issued a statement through a spokesperson.

“We have been actively meeting with all OMHA centres within the city of Hamilton to better understand the challenges they are facing,” Taylor said. “Through this process, we have been working in conjunction with Alliance Hockey, the Ontario Hockey Federation and the City of Hamilton in how we can best address these challenges collectively.”

But the local associations say their calls for changes have gone unanswered. Most are still waiting for any response to their various applications. They also don’t understand what took so long to set up the January meeting.

“We’re trying to ensure access to hockey,” said Flamborough minor hockey president Dr. Ed Finoro. He described existing OMHA boundary and residency rules in Hamilton as “a cave drawing” and in need of being updated to reflect the reality of the city and its minor hockey programs.

“It’s for the sake of the kids,” he said.

Spadafora said the new frustration is that once the associations started talking and finding solutions, they face roadblocks.

“The worst part is, when you try to make it better, you are not allowed. That’s where we are now,” he said.

The individual associations all want the boundary issues addressed before April 1, 2018, in time for mid-April tryouts for next season’s teams.

by Craig Campbell

Craig Campbell is a Reporter for the Dundas Star News. He can be reached at [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

This article has been viewed 3440 times.
Social Networking
Follow Us On
Follow Hamilton Huskies on Twitter
- and -
Visit Hamilton Huskies on Facebook
- and -
Follow Hamilton Huskies on Instagram
Quick Links
Manage Subscriptions
Signup to receive email or text messages for the teams you want to follow.
News ArchiveOther Recent Articles
  • 22
    Jul
    Organization
    U18 Players looking to attend Junior Team Summer Camps and Tryouts requiring a Permission To Skate form must contact Jim Lennox via email to initiate the process. Click here for more information.
  • 19
    Jul
    Organization
    "My name is Ryan Woodburn, I am 16 years old and will be road cycling from Hamilton Ontario to London Ontario on July 31st in hope of raising money for the MS Society of Canada." Ryan's primary goal is to raise awareness on a disease that ...
  • 17
    Jul
    Organization
    The Hamilton Huskies are very excited to announce Andrew Fritsch as the Head Coach of the U16 (2006) AAA team for the 2021-22 season.   Coach Fritsch comes to the Huskies with an extensive playing, developing and coaching resume.
  • 17
    Jul
    Organization
    General Manager Mike Spadafora and the Hamilton Huskies would like to extend a big congratulations to Scott Rex as he accepts a position with the NHL’s L.A. Kings.  Recently named Hamilton Huskies U-16 AAA Head Coach Scott Rex will be working ...
  • 14
    Jul
    Organization
    With Stage 3 beginning on Friday our 2021 Summer Development is on and all ice will be at the Mohawk 4 Ice Centre beginning Monday July 19th. Due to the big majority of forms submitted preferring 2 sessions per week that will become the only ...
  • 08
    Jul
    Organization
    Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning and our Hamilton Huskies connections Dave Andreychuk and Rob Kitamura on winning back to back Stanley Cup Championships. Both are Hamilton Huskies Alumnus, Dave is VP of Corporate and Community Affairs ...
  • 07
    Jul
    Organization
    ... and watch his team in the playoffs. As a scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning he wanted his guys to win Monday night.  Obviously .... to read the full Spec article click here
  • 06
    Jul
    Organization
    The Hamilton Huskies Development Camps are being planned for the end of July through to the end of August. Unfortunately available ice and Covid restrictions are two reasons why we can't finalize a schedule and the cost at this time. We are ...
Printed from hamiltonhuskies.ca on Friday, July 23, 2021 at 4:10 PM