Clearing up misinformation over minor hockey amalgamation

In response to the letter “Pleased Hockey Merger Fell Short” published in the May 18 paper, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some misinformation.

With 61 per cent of Beaver Valley Minor Hockey Association members voting to amalgamate, the clear message sent to the executive is this is something the majority of members would like to see happen.

Last season’s decision by the BVMHA executive to declare No Team in Category (NTiC) was due to lack of player numbers in the pee wee and up divisions to form rep teams.

This was not a partial amalgamation. It was a merging of the rep programs to provide an opportunity for all BV players to try out for rep hockey.

Rep hockey is an integral part of a player’s development should they wish to continue a career after minor hockey.

There are kids that aspire to play in the KIJHL, BCHL and other such leagues.  It is difficult, although not impossible, to transition from house hockey to these higher levels.

Rep hockey is most often the stepping stone to these leagues.  Some players strive to compete and enjoy the competition that rep hockey offers. Beaver Valley was left with only “house” teams last season; however that is not necessarily negative.

This decision allowed all players to play hockey at the level they are capable of and enjoy.

In an online survey conducted by both associations individuals were asked to rate their child’s minor hockey experience during the 2010/11 season.  81% of people responded that their children had an excellent or good season.

In this same survey, 79 per cent said that they understood the reason for the two associations merging their rep programs and 70 per cent were in favour of a continuation of joint programs.  It seems the autocratic decision made by last year’s executive had a positive impact on our hockey players and families.

The amalgamation prospect has brought forth two main areas of concern: loss of arena and travel. These were taken into consideration and Bylaw 60 was established.

For those not familiar with Bylaw 60, it is part of the proposed constitution for the Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association and states: “Where sufficient committed player numbers are available, the Society will make every effort to ensure geographic teams are formed in the Novice, Atom and Pee Wee divisions where deemed practical and efficient.”

The bulk of BVMHA numbers are made up in these divisions. This bylaw ensures should an association have enough players to form a team, that team will remain in their immediate area thus utilizing arenas and reducing travel.

Last season, both associations worked together to utilize ice time. The rep teams all had practice times scheduled in the Valley and Beaver Valley hosted West Kootenay league games played by Rossland/Trail teams versus other West Kootenay teams.

This brought people from outside the area into our community giving the local economy a boost. Our arena was well utilized last season meaning arena personnel were also utilized.

Another area of concern is loss of community identity.  Nowhere in the amalgamation proposal does it state that teams formed in BV can not still be called “Hawks.” We will still be able to cheer “Go Hawks Go” when the players take to the ice.

The Merger Concept Presentation is available on the Rossland/Trail Minor Hockey website (www.rtmha.com).

I encourage individuals who were unable to attend the Town Hall meeting to take a few minutes to read through this information.

Each year BVMHA executives are faced with tough choices. While everyone may not agree with the decisions made, these decisions are based on facts, not on personal preference.

With our continual decline in numbers we are heading on a course that could see hockey in this area be greatly compromised. We need to take the necessary steps now to keep hockey strong and viable in Beaver Valley.

Marlo Caputo

Fruitvale