It’s almost time to breath a collective sigh of relief, as the Rossland-Trail Minor Hockey Association voted to join forces with Beaver Valley Minor Hockey Association.
RTMHA voted 88 per cent in favour of amalgamation, with 37 ballots for and five against, at the Trail Memorial Centre on Wednesday.
The two associations will form the Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association (GTMHA) and are planning to come together in time for the upcoming season.
“We have lots of work to do, and still have to get final approval from B.C. Hockey and West Kootenay (minor hockey) about boundary changes,” said president Mark Ballarin, “But other than that it’s very doable.”
The GTMHA has developed a timeline to expedite the merger and have the kids skating under its stewardship by September.
The new association will adopt the charter created last year by the Futures Committee, schedule ice times, order jerseys, merge administrations, with Ballarin as president, address procedural and boundary changes with WKMHA and BCHA, as well as incorporate a new policy manual.
The transition will have its ups and downs, as registration for minor hockey has already commenced, and the executive still has to conflate two policy and procedural manuals, but having weathered the amalgamation storm, it should be relatively clear sailing from here.
“In the long run I think it’s for the best,” said executive member Dara Waterstreet. “Both associations have seen a decline in numbers and at the top of our goal planning is retention and recruitment and that has to be even bigger now. Now that we have all the arenas kind of working together, hopefully we can put some things in place that really draw more people and keep more kids (playing hockey).”
The amalgamation process started back in 2008 when a BVMHA referendum asked whether residents wanted more information on a merger with RTMHA. A strong response initiated talks between the two associations and a Futures Committee formed in October of 2009.
In 2010 BVMHA declared No Team In Category essentially integrating Rep teams from Pee Wee and up, although with some restrictions. In April 2011 a Town Hall Joint Presentation was called to discuss findings and a proposed merger concept.
The first attempt at amalgamation went in May 2011 with BVMHA voting 61 per cent and RTMHA 86 per cent in favour. The merger failed at the time, because a minimum of 75 per cent is required.
Similarly, in January 2012, another BVMHA vote came up just short, with 71 per cent.
Success came in early May when 87 per cent of BVMHA members voted to go ahead with the merger, prompting Wednesday’s return to the polls for RTMHA.