By Jim Bailey
Times Sports Editor
Minor hockey moms, dads, coaches and organizers cast their ballot last week to decide the future of hockey in the area.
The merger of the Beaver Valley (BCMHA) and Rossland-Trail Minor Hockey Associations (RTMHA) seemed like a good idea to the majority of voters, but a constitutional bylaw undermined efforts to amalgamate.
“Under the society’s act, whenever you amalgamate one society with another society, you need a 75 per cent membership approval,” said Shawn Brandt president of RTMHA.
The two votes drew over 160 concerned residents, with the RTMHA voting overwhelmingly, 89 per cent in favour, to merge the two leagues but Beaver Valley residents were still tentative with only 60.5 per cent prepared to join forces.
“At the end of the day, the Beaver Valley people for whatever reason, decided against it,” he added.
But Brandt is quick to point out that more than six out of 10 Beaver Valley voters wanted to amalgamate but the 75 per cent bar was too high for that majority to succeed.
Despite a comprehensive information campaign, presented in power-point form at a meeting last month, the Joint-Merger committee could not sell its point to everyone.
“It’s frustrating in that a number of people who turned out to vote didn’t have the facts on why we should be doing this, and unfortunately, they either didn’t get the information or didn’t show up to the town hall meeting or they were misled in some of the information that was out there.”
As for the future of minor hockey in Beaver Valley and Trail, low enrollment and participation at elite Rep levels is still a concern. BVMHA declared “no team in category” status for Rep teams in Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget to enable players to play in adjacent associations.
BVMHA has requested that Beaver Valley players interested in playing on elite teams continue to be able to play in Trail, however it is still to be determined by RTMHA.
“Hockey in the Valley will be just fine as long as the new executive is able to move past this and do what’s best for the kids in BV Hockey,” said Kirby Epp former BVMHA president. “My fear is that it would be very easy to let things get worse just to press the issue and prove a point.”