Bantam AA - 2015 USA Hockey Nationals Tier II 1A - 2nd place!!!
A message from our President:
I hope everyone had a successful 2014-15 season and you are enjoying the spring. Only a few more months until the 2015-2016 season officially season begins! I write to take care of some housekeeping matters with the organization and also to provide you with some information about the upcoming season.
We will be holding Board elections the last week of June and will conduct the voting electronically via email. We have three Board positions open: vice-president, tournament director and scholarship director. We are looking for nominations. If you are interested in running, or would like to nominate an individual for one of these positions, please let me know on or beforeMay 27, 2015. In addition to these elected positions, there are several appointed positions that we need to fill year-to-year. In particular we are looking for a qualified person to volunteer for the Treasurer position. Juliane Oppedyk has held this position for the past two years and has done a tremendous job. We are grateful for everything that she has done for this organization. We would like candidates for this position to have an accounting background and experience with QuickBooks. We will also need to fill the Equipment Director, who is in-charge of jerseys and apparel. Niki Osterberger has done a tremendous job with this and will be stepping down. There are other positions available as well. I would encourage you to volunteer. The more people we have helping out, the better the product we can provide to all of the kids and families.
In years past we have held an evaluations weekend early in the summer. Our plan this year is to schedule summer skates at all levels. As many of you know, last summer at the peewee level we gave this process a trial run and it seemed to work well. The plan will be to have about 8 sessions, held on Sunday afternoon or evening, to include dry land plus 75 minutes of ice time. Last year we were able to do this at the peewee level for under $100. The cost will be driven by the amount of players that sign up. I would encourage you to sign up! The sessions will be run by the Jr. Steelheads coaches and will focus on power skating and skill development. Details pertaining to the schedules of the summer skates and registration will be emailed soon. Although we will have formal tryouts, the more the kids are in front of the coaches throughout the summer the better the opportunity the coaches will have to observe the kids, which can reduce the “having a bad tryout” issue.
Tryouts will be scheduled by the coaches at the various levels. I anticipate that most tryouts will be held in late August, but some coaches may choose to have earlier tryouts. We will plan to hold our annual meeting at a tryout weekend and will use that as an opportunity to introduce the new Board members.
There are several families who have outstanding balances either to the organization or to their teams. If you have an outstanding balance you will not be allowed to participate in any summer skates or tryouts. Further, if you intend to play for another organization, USA Hockey requires that you be released from our organization. Prior to being released, you must be current on your financial obligations to both the organization and your team. If you are not current, you will not be released.
We continually try and improve as an organization. One item in particular that we have addressed is our administrative costs. I discussed this at last Fall’s meeting, but I again reiterate it. One of the biggest criticisms over the years with our organization has been the administrative expenses primarily due to having a paid Hockey Director position. While we still have some overhead costs such as website fees and QuickBooks, we have streamlined our budget and are able to offer what I believe is a great product to each of you at the lowest possible cost. Obviously the cost of ice and travel is very expensive, but at least your organization’s costs are minimal. We continue to try and provide a number of fundraising opportunities. I assume you all receive emails from May Branscombe with various opportunities. Further, because we are a 501(c)(3) org we are able to solicit donations that are tax deductible to the donor. We are always looking for sponsorship. If you have any leads or ideas please do not hesitate to contact me or a Board member to discuss further.
One of the items that I am most proud of during the past year is the growth of our scholarship fund. We have been able to put away funds earned by the organization through hotel revenue from our tournaments. Last October we held a peewee and bantam tournament with 16 teams (14 out-of-state teams). The hotel revenue from this tournament as well as the other tournaments we hosted will result in the organization giving scholarships to several families this year. We will publish more information about the available scholarships and application process in the Fall.
We have attempted to establish a method to better communicate with members and to listen to any comments by establishing reps at each age level. Many of you took advantage of this and provided comments. The comments were disseminated to the Board and we have attempted to listen and react. One item that we will strive to do differently this year is to provide better training to the team managers and treasurers. Further, we will encourage our coaches to communicate better with their teams.
As for next year’s coaches, we have not definitively nailed down the specific coach for each the specific team as we need to see where our numbers are at each age level. As many of you know I am a huge proponent of having one travel organization in the Treasure Valley as the benefits to all of you are substantial. With one organization we could offer additional training to the kids such as organization-wide power skating sessions and goalie specific on-ice sessions. Unfortunately, it is cost-prohibitive unless we hit certain numbers. Further, one organization would allow us to have a more powerful voice in the hockey community and would result in more efficient ice scheduling, more successful home tournaments, provide the organization with more powerful buying power which would result in discounts for equipment and apparel, and would allow us to maximize ice time and off-ice resources. There are many more reasons why I firmly believe one travel organization would benefit us all. Not everyone shares my vision. Others have their reasons and they are entitled to their opinion, but one day I am hopeful to have one organization. Regardless of whether we have one or multiple hockey organizations in the area, I can assure you that we will continue to strive to provide the best hockey environment we can.
Back to the coaches, our staff will consist of the following: Cody Proctor, Pete Bower, Brett Gallagher, Cal Ingraham, John Stevens, Robbie Swofford, John Ursillo, Roy Mitchell, Matt Gunn Travis Ceniga and myself. As noted above, the specific teams that these individuals end up coaching will depend on our numbers and seeing how many teams we can field at each level.