Please take the time to
read this letter as it contains important information regarding our membership’s
current status with the Simcoe Region Local League (SRLL) as well as our approach
to our interlocking Local League with Newmarket this upcoming season.
Gwillimbury Minor Hockey Association (BWGMHA) operates as a separate
organization under the guidelines of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA). BWGMHA operates teams at the Rep, House
League (HL) levels, and previously Local League (LL) within the SRLL.
Timing of Announcement
First and foremost, I apologize for the frustration and confusion our current and prior membership has faced with this announcement (posted on our website August 1, 2018). Especially for those that had registered and paid and were under the impression that they were going to be involved in the SRLL.
Though the timing of our announcement was not ideal and the information was limited as we had to first wait for Newmarket’s board to pass this agreement and their board meeting did not take place until late July. Though our Board approved this motion in June we were unfortunately in a position where we could not yet share anything until Newmarket’s Board approved the motion to combine Bradford and their in-house HL’s.
Current Status with the SRLL
The SRLL operates under the guidelines of the OMHA. However, the SRLL has its own set of operating policies. One of these policies is the Balancing Rule. This rule applies to each member centre and all teams playing within the SRLL.
Below you will find several sections which will help provide context to the changes in BWGMHA’s HL/LL Peewee and older divisions.
1. The SRLL Balancing Policy
2. BWGMHA Failed to Meet Balancing Requirement 2017/2018
3. Conditions Placed on BWGMHA to Participate in SRLL in 2018/19 Season
4. BWGMHA Local League Approach for 2018/2019
5. Interlocking with Newmarket
The SRLL Balancing Policy
Any member centre within the SRLL with 2 or more teams in a division must ensure that all teams be within .400 winning percentage of each other by December 7th to be considered “balanced” for playoff eligibility. Member centres whose teams in any division are not balanced on December 7th will have until the end of the season to meet balancing requirements.
If a member centre has a division that is out of balance at the end of the season, all of its teams within that division will be suspended from playoff competition.
Fines will be levied to member centres with unbalanced teams within a division as follows:
1. November 15th: $100.00 per unbalanced division
2. December 7th: $150.00 per unbalanced division
3. End of season: Teams are disqualified from playoffs and the member centre forfeits a $300.00 bond.
This means that any player on a team in a division within their centre that has 2 or more teams in a division is subject to being moved to a different team up until November 15th within that division in order to comply with the SRLL Balancing Policy.
No player may be moved from their team after November 15th without the permission of the SRLL Board of Executives.
The intent of the Balancing Policy is to ensure a “level playing field” with regards to competition within a centre’s division that has 2 or more teams.
BWGMHA Failed to Meet Balancing Requirement 2017/2018
Last season BWGMHA failed to meet the balancing rules set forth within the SRLL Balancing policy for the BWGMHA Peewee local league division. This resulted in the $300 bond payable at the beginning of the season to be forfeited as well as one team to become ineligible to play in the division playoff championship.
Other centres (in specific divisions) were also in violation of the Balancing Policy in 2017/18. To our knowledge, BWGMHA was the only centre who was disciplined for failing to meet balancing requirements however BWGMHA has been in violation of the Balancing Policy in each of the past 3 seasons and any conditions imposed are at the discretion of the SRLL and its Delegates.
Conditions Placed on BWGMHA to Participate in SRLL in 2018/19 Season
At the end of the season a meeting was held by the SRLL Executive, Centre Presidents and Delegates to determine and set conditions to be placed on the BWGMHA for failing to meet the balancing requirements in accordance with the SRLL Balancing Policy. The conditions were as follows;
1. Follow all procedures of the Balancing Rules of the SRLL.
2. Submit procedures and specifics of BWGMHA balancing. RE: paperwork, showing all evaluations of player assessments, setting of teams to the SRLL Executive.
3. Coach in question (peewee division last year) not be allowed to be part of selection group.
4. Bond fee per division will be set at $500 (normally $300), returnable if division is compliant with Balancing Rules
a. Fines for unbalance divisions on November 15th, December 7th and January 31st will be doubled for the BWMHA for the 2018/2019 season.
i. If BWGMHA entered 4 divisions (as we did last year) the bond fee would be $2,000.
5. Agree to have all conditions posted on the SRLL website
6. Notify BWGMHA membership as per conditions on the BWGMHA website before the start of the 2018-2019 season (this letter is the notification to membership).
7. Third party to be approved by the SRLL executive, prior to BWGMHA evaluations.
a. This party to assist with and oversee team evaluations and team selections to ensure a fair, unbiased, and balanced approach
8. Failure to comply with any condition will result in BWGMHA being excluded from the 2019/2020 SRLL season.
BWGMHA Local League Approach for 2018/2019
Though our Board deemed certain conditions that were to be placed on BWGMHA would be adding excessive financial risk, BWGMHA’s decision to leave the SRLL was not an action in spite of the conditions but an acknowledgement that our approach to our LL needs to change.
Our prior actions or lack thereof with regards to LL have created an environment that fosters and values competition over development and our players having fun. The formation of a Local League is to simply allow other nearby centres to combine their in-house HL’s with those of other centres; a HL that extends “Locally”. They are not formed to create a highly competitive travel league but somehow this has become the expectation for some members of our LL and of the SRLL itself.
I’ve spoken to many members involved in LL and something that keeps coming up is that the “benefit” of LL was it was more competitive than HL and that “it’s kinda like rep hockey”. Make no mistake, the SRLL is not Rep hockey and neither is our new LL; they are both HL based.
We’ve had divisions in LL with multiple teams where balancing was an issue. My personal opinion is that the rules for Balancing are pretty clear, whether you agree with them or not, we should abide by them. However there has been instances where it appears that we intentionally dressed a team to “run away with it” at the expense of the other teams’ players and their development. This is not acceptable. What’s more concerning is that those types of actions and behaviors are a result of treating our LL as “kinda like rep hockey”. We need a new and fresh approach.
Interlocking with Newmarket
We’re happy to announce that we have entered into an agreement with Newmarket Minor Hockey to run a fully interlocked schedule with Newmarket’s HL divisions Peewee and older.
Interlocking with Newmarket’s HL allows us the benefit of combining our in-house HL’s and an opportunity to place our focus back on development and fun.
We believe this new arrangement will offer several benefits:
- Schedule stability
o Each division will run primarily on a set schedule. Primarily on weekends. This should allow families to better coordinate participation in other sports, work schedules, school, travel, etc.
- Travel reduction
o Arena’s within Newmarket and Bradford
- Opportunity for development programs and clinics
o A stable schedule will allow the association an opportunity to offer development ice, off-ice activities, clinics, Select programs, etc.
- Quality of play
o Some centres would dress only one team in their LL division usually with the intent of dressing “only the best”
o We will roster teams with a fair approach. i.e., no team in a division will be formed to “run away” with their division. For those that seek a more competitive team, if we have the numbers and schedule to support it, Select Teams will be considered.
- Free Local Tournament
o Each Bradford team within our new LL will enter into one of our Association run tournaments at no charge.
To give an idea of what this new arrangement might look like, the following table illustrates how many teams that are currently registered in each division:
TOTAL # of Teams
The definition of rules & policies for the new Newmarket/Bradford League is currently underway. Updates will be provided to all membership as soon as possible.
- Coach interviews and selections – August 29th & 30th
- Evaluation Skates – Sept 10th & 11th BLC Blue 6pm-10pm
- Draft rules & policies – TBA*
- Division Structure ,Tentative Schedule & number of games – TBA*
- Information Session – Mid September
- Season Start – TBA *
*Rules, division structure should be known and made available to membership early September.
There are no residency requirements for HL or LL hockey. Both leagues are classified as “Recreational” hockey, which is open to players of all calibers and experience levels. We understand that the timing of these events is not ideal, and that some families will choose to relocate to a centre that allows them to remain within the SRLL.
The BWGMHA board is working diligently to get our new arrangement underway, and we believe this arrangement allows BWGMHA to offer a great hockey experience for our players and families.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
VP BWGMHA Local League