On Wednesday March 21st, 2018 -
Ancaster Minor Hockey League (AMHL) and Glanbrook Minor Hockey Association
(GMHA) received a proposal for a two-year (2019/2020 and 2020/2021) pilot
project from the OMHA. This pilot project is unique (never offered in
Ontario) and was created by the OMHA because of the discussions and issues
raised by our local associations and the City of Hamilton.
This pilot project allows GMHA and AMHL to operate with shared boundaries between their Rep teams, offering freedom of movement between the associations (without limits) for their players. Together, the two organizations would field a Double-A team, a Single-A and an AE team where numbers and ability permit. The two associations would collaborate together to work out details like the selection of coaches and players, as well as which teams and levels would be fielded for each age group. Both associations would have the option to continue with, or opt-out of, this pilot project after each season allowing for open dialogue and coordination between our two memberships. Future decisions, such as amalgamation, or a continuation of this pilot project beyond the initial proposed 2 years would be an open discussion between our associations, and open to comments, concerns and discussion amongst our members.
The board of directors of AMHL and GMHA have voted to move forward with the OMHA proposal, beginning with the 2019/2020 season. We will begin working on the details with the help of our members over the next year to ensure we take steps that strengthen our associations. As well as improve accessibility and quality of hockey for the kids living within our combined borders.
Much has been written and said over the past few months in the City of Hamilton regarding the health of our local minor hockey associations. This has been chronicled to some degree by recent Hamilton Spectator articles as well as some open letters put out by the associations to their membership. Beginning two years ago, meetings were held amongst all of the local Hamilton hockey associations to look at improving access for our local players to play hockey at their correct levels of competitiveness (AAA, AA, A, or AE), as well as help to slow or reverse the decline in numbers of kids playing hockey in the city. Further, the strength of some of the organizations in the city were in question, with enrollment falling to levels that threatened the operation of some of their various age levels’ Rep teams as well as limiting the number of House League teams in various age divisions.
Several solutions were raised, from amalgamations, to a citywide open borders solution, to a hybrid solution that would involve two or three areas of the city working together with open borders rather than the full city. Not all of the associations in the city agreed with a single solution. The GMHA and AMHL have voiced their concerns about having this happen on a rushed basis and that the core community strength that our local associations can offer our kids could be placed at risk.
We are committed to working towards a strong and successful community based hockey offering. We want our kids to be challenged to develop and succeed at the right levels for each of them individually, from AAA to House League. We hope that our players have every opportunity to excel as well as to play hockey with their friends, schoolmates, and neighbours. We will defend the strength and longevity of our local associations to ensure an opportunity for all kids and families to access and choose the level and commitment level that they wish to pursue.
We look forward to the year ahead, planning for the future of our combined organizations and the opportunities that this pilot project presents.
Yours in hockey,
The boards of directors of AMHL and GMHA