By Ian Simpson
The game of hockey in Canada was forever changed with the initiation program mandate by Hockey Canada in 2017. The decision to move tyke and novice aged children has been met with some trepidation over the past year. Not necessarily for the concept or reasoning behind it. Many people will agree with the statistics proving that cross ice hockey helps our youngest hockey players develop faster and makes the game more fun for them. No one can argue with the results, when USA Hockey has had a similar model for the past decade. Developing generational NHL players, in non traditional hockey markets like Arizona and Auston Matthews. In an article written by CBC Sports, he was quoted with saying;
“It definitely helped me growing up, It helps you process the game a lot faster. There’s more action, you have to be aware. It’s a lot more fun than being a six-year-old hauling down 200 feet of ice.”
There is no doubting the system when some of the games best players are out there promoting the importance of it.
So why has there been such an uproar over the implementation of what seemingly has nothing but a positive impact on our beloved game. The majority of issues stem from the direction from Hockey Canada, or lack there of, on where to start. From the beginning Hockey Associations have been tasked to divide the ice to accommodate cross-ice. This resulted in many different iterations, some as seemingly silly as using pylons and fire hoses…(Yes I have actually seen the fire hose in use.) Now that people are coming to the realization that this mandate is not going away (For obviously very good reasons) they are now shopping for a more proper divider system. However some are still lost as to where to turn. Hockey clubs have never been responsible for really anything more than providing jerseys, socks, trophies and other small miscellaneous items. They have never had to purchase Hockey goal frames, or maintain the arena dasher board system, or replace sections of glass. This responsibility always fell on the qualified staff at the rink. Since the organizations have never had to purchase any type of major equipment required for on ice use, where do they start their shopping? Up till now they just rented the ice time, and all the stuff needed was there waiting for them. This is the easiest problem of them all…comparison shopping. Once of course you figure out where to shop. Thank goodness for Alexa and google! However fast forward ….the organization has found the divider system they are looking for. But wait…Hold on…there are many other different things that they are realizing must be considered.
- Will the municipal rink allow them to be used? (I.E. Some heritage rinks will only allow certain kinds in order to meet a specific fire code protecting the building)
- Who will store them?
- Which arena will our cross Ice programs be running out of? (Larger cities have multiple facilities that house their Mite, Tyke, & Novice programming.)
- Who will set them up?
- How much more ice time will be required to purchase for set up and tear down?
- Will the municipality allow arena staff to set up or not?
- Will volunteers be needed for set up and dismantling?
- Will that require additional insurance?
- ……and more
As you can see there is a lot more to consider for every association out there, and I have heard almost all of them. Eventually there will come a time when all of this will be common practice, but that is quite a few years away and until then each organization will have to continue to do their due diligence as to what works best for them.
Here at Riley we strive to provide each organization, with not only the best divider option out there, we make sure that we will assist with any and all questions to help make this transition period easier.
Here are just some of organizations who have recently purchased our rink divider system and experienced the Riley Difference ….
Lindsey Minor Hockey
Stephenville Minor Hockey
St. Bonafice Minor Hockey Association
Bradford Minor Hockey Association
Owen Sound Minor Hockey Group
Caledonia & District Minor Hockey Association (CDMHA)
Aylmer Minor Hockey Association
Pelham Minor Hockey Association
West London Minor Hockey Association
Wasaga Minor Hockey Association
Blyth Brussels Minor Hockey Association
Don Mills Civitan Hockey League
Peterborough Memorial Centre
Belmont Minor Hockey
Orono Amateur Athletic Association
Stanley Stick Hockey Association (Guelph)
Banff Minor Hockey Association
Indus Minor Hockey Association
Melita Minor Hockey Association
Listowel Minor Hockey Association
New Tecumseth Minor Hockey Association
Port Dover Minor Hockey Association
Municipality of Clarington
Grandview Gardens Arena
Brock Arena (British Columbia)
Salmon Arm Minor Hockey
Ted Reeve Hockey Association
Assinaboine Minor Hockey Association