A Number of people have asked for a forum to share their comments and suggestions about the current hockey. Please use this area to share your comments and feedback.
I would first of all like to thank the league for opening up this blog for all of us to express thoughts on the past year. My comments will be directed towards the past year spent as an Atom parent. There were a lot of fun and happy times for all the children without question .All the coaches and volunteers are to be thanked. This is not an attack or criticism against anyone .It is a simple question on how do we make next year an even better experience for the kids .The collective record for all 5 atom teams ( 3 local ,A, AE) regular season was as follows
GP W L T GF GA
138 24 98 16 276 769
Could we not do a better job in distributing the talent so the kids can compete??? We have teams that rarely touch the puck when competing against better teams in their division. I’m not sure how this helps the children develop? Looking forward to next year, yes, but why is competing such a negative thing here?
Having boys on the small side I did not know what to expect as they entered their first year of hockey with body checking. Having a son play Minor Peewee Rep and the other play Peewee Local League (body checking) and Peewee Select (no body checking) I was able to see all levels of hockey. In Peewee Local League there are kids weighting 60lbs and kids tipping the scales at over 120lbs.
The biggest difference I have seen this year was the use of body checking. The majority of Local League body checking that I saw (and depending on what team you played it went from not much too every minute) was done not to separate the player from the puck, but to injure. The hits from behind, the head contact, the hits after the whistle and in one case even after the game led to more injuries than the faster paced Rep hockey.
In most cases it was just dirty, unskilled players who only have that to offer the game, in other cases it was beginner players who don’t have the skill (skating) or experience not to put themselves in a dangerous position (give a hit and take a hit) and finally (sadly) it was coaches who only yelled about hitting, not systems, passing or shooting. Watching this all year I soon understood why the OHF and OMHA chose to remove body checking from House League hockey across Ontario.
At 11 years of age if you have been playing hockey at the House League level then chances are that is the level you will continue to play at. If you are starting to play hockey at 11 years of age chances are you also will not be playing Rep hockey. Sure there are exceptions but they are few and far between.
We only have body checking in our “Local League” because the SRMHL decided to keep it. There is a reason why the OHF and OMHA made the following decision:
“The OHF continues to review the delivery of all levels of hockey in order to create a safe and fun environment for all of its participants. Removing body checking at House League and House League Select is a positive decision for player recruitment and safety. The removal creates a safer environment for new players that join the game at any age to develop the fundamental skills of skating and puck handling without the concern of being intentionally hit by another player.”
Local League is the same calibre as House League so why do we have it? The other argument for body checking in Local League is that kids AP to the Rep team where there is body checking so they need to be ready. This year one kid from Peewee Local League played one game with the Minor Peewee Rep Team, the other 40 or so kids did not.
Bradford needs too, at a minimum, offer a no body checking option for Local League calibre kids who just want to go and play hockey and thus adopt the OHF decision. Also comments about having those kids who don’t want to play House/Local League with body checking play ringette speak more to ignorance than anything else. We know more about injuries and concessions and their long term effects now.
I enjoyed the skilled Peewee Select no body checking games much more that the Peewee Local League games. I also enjoyed the Minor Peewee Rep games with body checking because it was done at the right time for the right reason in a respectful way by players who knew what they were doing, something that is obviously missing in Peewee Local League.
I would first like to thank Mr Walsh and Mr Staite for their comments, hopefully we can use this forum for some real communication and accurate portrayal of events and situations. I would like to first address the Atom. This year we took an Atom AE grouping out of Local League, that meant that Local League would not have the competative edge they showed last year. But we hoped that by doing that some of the Local League children would see more pucks. While I have to agree it appeared to be a little unbalanced, the last few playoff games I have watched have been very exciting. Balancing is not a science and comes at a price, as volunteers we gringe every time we ask a child to move from one team to another because the fallout is usually very negative. It gets worse as the age group rises and I dearly wish we had other outlets to solve our balancing issues. We are working hard at creating a new format to balance, although I can not guarantee that it will work any better than previous policies, but at the very least we will try something new. I can not speak for the Atom A nor the minor Atom A teams but both improved from a year ago and any sign of improvement is meant as a move in the right direction. Atom Ae unfortunatley was heavy to minor atoms playing at the major atom level, a centre Bradford’s size we simply do not have the numbers to put a major and minor AE team together, but if you take a look at the scores, the goal differentials came down at season’s end and we will take that as a small victory. Unfortunately for some victory is the only benchmark of development. If we were Barrie or Aurora or Nemarket, we could look year to year and measure our compete levels in wins and losses. I think for smaller centres we have to look at putting the structure that allows for development, fun and compete, and one that charts a path for long term success. Bradford teams will not be born successful we have to nuture them into something great. Many centres will see 60 to 100 children compete for 17 spots, in some of our age groups we see 15 children try out. In Atom we have pretty good numbers, the question is can we develop a larger core group of children for the long term? It sounds like fun was had, it is the Executives responsibility to make sure we find ways to level it out, raise the compete and make sure it remains fun, hopefully we can.
I feel for all the parents that had to take a child off the ice injured no matter what the cause. But when we see children taken off because we see blatant acts to injure I get infuriated. I lobbied hard for Local League to adopt the OHF ruling, unfortunately to no avail. I will continue to try and find options for children “other than chasing them off to other centres” our biggest limitation are our numbers especially at the older age groups. The OMHA to date will not give us options,and SRMHL seems content to pander to the centres that treat Local League as their private rep league. I agree with Mr Staite, the spread of talent in Local League is too great to allow for hitting. Not only talent but the growth of a child between Peewe and Bantam means you have 60lbs versus 110lbs, the outcome can never be good. Local League is supposed to be recreational, when a child fears for his safety we have crossed a line. I hope over the next few weeks you will see attempts at opitions, but it rests with the membership, the executive can only act on your will. We need feedback|! Many enjoy local league and what it offers but many want options, if we do not hear form you there is no mandate to seek these options out. I hope this answers some questions, keep posting and make sure you attend the AGM on April 2nd.
just a comment on the balancing issue. The teams in the atom division were very balanced when they needed to be. I don’t think people should get down on one kid or one team if they happen to do better than other teams, there are alot of things that should be looked at near the end of the season that will tell the success or faliure of a team. This year we had an awesome coaching staff and a few talented players. working together our coaching staff was able to bring along those players that needed to improve skills. I saw a huge improvement in every player on our team. The coaches gave the kids a wonderful atmosphere to want to learn the game, they gave the kids a chance to “gel” together and form friendships with other players on the ice and off ice. We had a good group of parents that were behind the coaches and kids and did not interfere with what was going on in the dressing room, or on the ice. Our kids were taught that hard work pays off, that having fun is what the game is all about, and that good sportsmenship is rewarded. I hope the same coaches r available next year because even if my son does not end up with them at least other kids will have the chance to learn the game from the talented people that led our team this year.
QUESTION POINTS FOR DISCUSSION
• Is hockey is in a state of flux?
• Do kids don’t know how to hit or take a hit?
• Do players don’t know when to hit?
• Are referees unsure when it comes to making contact calls?
• Has the removal of the redline for offside created dangerous situations?
• Are players turning their backs on hitter…making themselves vulnerable?
• Do less skilled players get hurt more than highly skilled?
• Do players know how to play the game?
• Is winning everything?
• Is losing all the time ok?
• Do kids define themselves by their level of success and feedback from hockey?
• You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want
I have concerns. BWGMHA has initiated an option to contact hockey and to date we have only one positive responce that they would want to partake in 4 on 4 hockey. Perhaps it takes a bit of explaining. This will be regular hockey, minus one player on each side and minus the contact. This will not be similar to 3 on 3. It is hoped we could get 6 to 10 teams of 12 kids each to participate at a very competative level financially. So we have accomplished two things by offering an option to contact and an option financially. But we need participants, we listend and we have responded, now we need you to let us know if this is what you want.
Fears over concussions at hockey’s highest level are trickling down more and more to minor hockey these days, and several high-profile Canadian associations have begun to take action as a result. At the last Bradford AGM meeting there was a general open discussion on this topic. I’m not sure if baseline testing is now mandatory or not for our Rep and local league kids if they suspect a concusion has occured. Could the board please publish how this is to be properly handled going forward including who has to be seen and what the costs will be.
On another note , part of the yearly fees we pay goes towards insurance . Could the board explain what that actually covers in detail?
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