President's Report to the AGM, News (London Junior Knights)

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President's Report to the AGM
Submitted By Barry Cleaver on Friday, May 6, 2011



Presidents Report to the Annual General Meeting

(May 4th, 2011)

Thank you for coming this evening. First I would like to thank everyone in the organization for their contribution. This includes the many hours put in by the coaches, managers and trainers and the Board members and last but not least the parents who contribute their time and money.

We are often inundated with stories about what is wrong with minor hockey and it is important to listen to the criticisms as every hockey organization should strive to improve. Improving, however, does mean change and people by nature are resistant to change. Some changes work and others don’t and it’s important for an organization to remain sufficiently agile to recognize what works and what doesn’t and to respond appropriately. In my opinion the biggest mistake that an organization can make is to be complacent and not recognize the need for improvement and change.

During the last 2 years and in particular, during the last year, there have been a number of changes within the organization some being at the initiative of your Board and other being in reaction to changes beyond the Board’s control. These changes include the following:

1.    This winter an Agreement was reached with the Greater London Hockey Association. As many of you are aware the associations within the GLHA were allowed into the seeded league 2 years ago. Greater London had been lobbying for some time to be allowed into the seeded league as they were looking for a greater breadth of competition. The Alliance was supportive of Greater London’s bid and, although the Jr. Knights were resistant, it became apparent 2 years ago that they would be allowed to participate. The Jr. Knights’ Board was concerned as we saw allowing the Greater London teams to participate in the seeded league created a competing program with the Jr. Knights within the City of London.

The tryout procedure for the 2010-2011 season was mandated by the Alliance. In our opinion the procedure was flawed and did not work for any of the stake holders - in particular the participants. It was clear that for competitive hockey to function properly within the City of London, it was necessary for the Jr. Knights and Greater London Hockey Association to put down past differences and work together towards an agreement.

As with any negotiations there is give and take and the final Agreement which you can find on our website was struck after many discussions (actually 2 years of discussions). The deal finally reached was structured with the genuine intent on behalf of both Greater London and London Jr. Knights to reach an accommodation that would best work for minor hockey participants in London. 

The Agreement reached is not one everyone will like, but it does create a structure that I feel will, in the long term, enhance the development of players within the City of London.

As I previously said, adapting to change is difficult, and some changes work and some don’t. The Agreement with the Greater London Hockey Association is a one year renewable agreement allowing each side to choose not renew the Agreement in the event it is not working.

Having now had our first set of tryouts with this Agreement in place we can report that it has certainly worked better than the tryout procedure imposed upon us last year. There may be some suggestions once a post mortem of the tryouts has been conducted. One issue that perhaps requires discussion is the fact that this year Greater London required all players wishing to play MD hockey to first try out for the LJKs.  This resulted in many more participants at the tryouts than we anticipated. This is something under review for next year and should be relatively easy to correct.

2.    The second change I would like to discuss, is the change to spring tryouts. The reason we changed to spring tryouts is easy-we had to. Spring tryouts were mandated across the Province by the OHF. The only associations not required to conduct spring tryouts for AAA (for the 2011-2012 season only) were associations unable to secure spring ice. Spring ice was available to us so we therefore had no option. Next year all associations must hold Spring tryouts.

Also of note with respect to spring tryouts is the fact that now the teams are selected in the spring there is an opportunity for teams to come together during the summer. That can be good news and bad news. It is the opinion of the Board that our players should have the chance to participate in summer sports and take family trips. As a result there will be certain rules restricting the amount of practice time a team can have during the summer months and mandating that the practice not be mandatory.

  1. This year we brought in the Impact Concussion Program and we were the first organization in Canada to do so. Many other associations across the Province and Country have been in contact with us to discuss our experience and several associations are now following our lead and will be implementing the program. Kevin Gardner took the lead in bringing Impact to the Junior Knights and if you have any questions later with respect to the program you can direct your questions to Kevin.

4.    Throughout this season the Board also worked on developing a Junior Jr. Knights program. This is meant to be a development program for Novice aged players. The details of the program are still being fleshed out but, ice permitting it is hoped that this will be implemented by the Fall.

 

5.    The website received a complete overhaul this year and in conjunction therewith PayPal for the first time was accepted for online payment. As with the other changes, the registration payment tool contained on our new website had some hiccups, but overall received good marks. The glitches will be worked out for next season.

 

6.    Perhaps the most controversial change this year will be the reduction of number of teams at each age group from 3 to 2.  This change is tied into the Agreement struck with the Greater London Hockey Association and is also tied into the fact that the hockey geographical boundaries in Ontario may disappear as early as this summer. The reduction on the number of teams is, in part, meant to assist the Greater London teams be more competitive in the seeded league. At the end of the day the City of London will have 5 teams playing in the seeded league, 3 more than was historically the case. It is hoped that we can continue to work with Greater London Hockey Association in terms of player development and can assist each other with getting all players ready for the next level.

Throughout the year our teams had a fair amount of success. The strength of the program should not be looked at in terms of championships but it is an indication of how players are being developed. I would like to congratulate the following teams:

League Champions

Minor Atom AAA
Minor Pee Wee AAA
Minor Bantam AAA
Midget AAA
Minor Atom AA Green
Atom AA Green
Minor Pee Wee AA Gold
Pee Wee AA Gold
Midget AA Gold

Alliance Champions

Minor Atom AAA
Minor Atom AA Green
Minor Pee Wee AA Green
Pee Wee AA Gold
Midget AA Gold
Midget AAA

OHF Championships

Midget AA made it to the semi-finals

Pee Wee AA made it to the semi-finals

The Midget AAA coached by Chuck Dufton desires special congratulation.  They had an unprecedented year:

  • regular season  record 27-5-0-3
  • playoffs  10-1-1
  • were finalists in three of 6 tournaments
  • won the Peterborough Tournament of Champions
  • central region championship 7-1
  • captain Wyatt Coghill won the esso scholarship $500.00
  • Telus Cup beat the first place and undefeated Vancouver Giants on the last day of round robin and earned spot in the semi final
  • semi final beat the #1 ranked Giants in OT
  • first Alliance team ever to advance out of the round robin
  • Craig Wood was named tournament Goaltender
  • in total team has played 97 games in the 2010-2011 season

In my view the members of the Board this year were extremely hard working. Some put in a substantial amount of hours while others put in a ridiculous amount of hours. The Board meetings could be long (typically ran from 7pm to 11pm) and as much time as was required was used to fully debate the difficult issues. Everyone on the Board without exception weighed in on issues and expressed their own opinions.

There are things that can be done better as there always are. I would recommend to the next Board that they consider the steps required to increase the size of the Board. There are just not enough bodies and enough person hours available to do everything.

One of my goals this year as President of the Board was to have better communication with the membership, and in that regard I think I get a failing grade. Again one of my recommendations to the Board for next year is to post information of interest to the membership quickly on the website. It will be up to the membership at that point to actually read the information. In terms of maintaining better communications it may also be feasible to, with the use of technology, poll members for their opinions on major issues.

Thank you for attending today and if there are any questions from the members please direct them to myself. I will answer where I can and call upon other Board members to assist where applicable.

Thank You.

“Barry Cleaver”

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