Volume 12 Week 5

Tuesday, July 25


 

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Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney

 

 

 

 

'(Posted 5:30 a.m., April 7)
Decision to breakaway from GHA stirs heated debate within Cumberland Minor Hockey Association
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Cumberland Minor Hockey Association is embroiled in a heated debate over whether or not the organization should breakaway from the Gloucester Hockey Association and form its own league.

At the heart of the matter is the CMHA desire to be able to control its own ice time. At present the CMHA receives it's alotted ice time from the city for the Ray Friel Centre, the R.J Kennedy Arena in Cumberland Village and the Navan Memorial Arena from the city and then hands it over to the GHA who then puts together its schedule using the alotted ice time from all its member organizations including Blackburn Minor Hockey, Gloucester Centre Minor Hockey and Orleans Minor Hockey.

Whatever ice time the GHA doesn't make use of is then handed back to the CMHA which uses it mostly for practices. The problem with the current arrangement is that it creates situations whereby teams are practicing on a Sunday and then not playing until the following Saturday. It also makes it difficult for the CMHA to consolidate practices at one location for each division, which would allow for a more efficient player evaluation and develop.m.ent program.

Supporters of the initiative, which was approved by the CMHA executive in February, argue that having control over their ice time will allow for better player develop.m.ent by allowing for practices to be scheduled before games rather than afterwards, and it will allow for practices and games to be scheduled in blocks according to age levels and aptitude rather than willy-nilly as is generally the case now.

By block booking teams practices and games according to age and skill level it will make it easier to evaluate players and provide coach support where necessary.

Opponents of the plan are upset that if the CMHA breaks away from the GHA the kids will only be able to play against other Cumberland teams. In some circumstances teams will have to play each other five or six times during the course of the season. And while that may not be a huge issue with kids at the House B and C levels, kids in House A tend to want to play against teams in other leagues as opposed to constantly play each other.

In order to deal with the issue of always having to play the same teams, the executive is suggesting that more exhibition games be scheduled with teams from other leagues.

On Monday night, both opponents and proponents of the plan filled the cafeteria at Fallingbrook Community Elementary School for an information meeting. While various members of the executive took turns defending their decision while trying to explain why the move will be beneficial for player develop.m.ent, those people who are opposed to the decision just wanted to know if the executive planned to poll the 1400 members of the CMHA before making a final decision and whether or not they would be given an opportunity to vote on the matter.

The answer to both questions was no, although CMHA president Dan Guérin left a tiny crack open by saying that the executive would be discussing the situation at their next meeting on Wednesday.

"I'm not saying we're leaving here and we're going forward. yes we're going to consider it further because there are a lot of people who are upset," said Guérin.

The reluctance of the board to put the move to a vote did not sit well with several members of the audience, including Luc Landry who coaches an Atom A team.

"You've done something that is a surprise to many parents. I just found out about this a week ago and I'm a coach. This is not about changing the colour of our uniforms, this is huge," said Landry wants the executive to at least defer the decision for a year to allow a committee of parents and coaches to examine the possible alternatives to simply breaking away from the GHA. "Please delay this for a year, because no one's going to win in this. No one's going to win on either side."

Opponents of the move have the option of replacing the current executive at the next annual general meeting in May with a slate of the their own candidates. Should they choose to do so, the new executive.could reverse the original decision.

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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