RA >50 News 2012-02
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Hi Tom, Mike Leger, Brian Gunnell, Bruce Cappon, Norm Boswall and Randy Harris.

As well, I've copied in every player from the Friday group who I have an email address for. Considering that the email sent to me states that it represents all the Friday players, I believe it warrants everyone's attention.

Tom Evans' email  raises a number of issues. In order to fairly address them, some facts which may not be agreeable to some people need to be said.

While member comments and constructive input is always welcome, and everyone submits those comments their own way, I will tell you that a number of Tom's comments are personally offensive to me as they denigrate my work responsibilities and call into question my ability to perform those responsibilities. Regardless, I'll try to answer the concerns with as much fact and objectivity as possible.

Some of the conclusion I can draw from the email are:

A) You want to run your own league but not be responsible for any of the administrative aspects of it, eg collecting money, recruiting, scheduling, etc.

B) You want to be responsible for all player evaluations

C) You want to be responsible to make the teams

D) You want a shinny or pick-up style to the league, (basically a rental), eg. running time, no stoppages in play, no refs, no coordinator. But, you do want a score keeper to keep your scoring stats(?)

It's interesting that a number of the comments appear to be made with little knowledge of some facts.

Such as:

Fact - We advertise ourselves as an Adult Men's O50 House league hockey program.

For those who may not be aware, that means that players sign up for our program individually, and are placed with other players to form a team.

Fact - We advertise that players will be evaluated / assessed, and may be moved from team to team in order to try and attain parity.

Fact - The League Coordinator is an unbiased authority with no vested interest in who wins and who loses.

Fact - Game times are 1:30pm and 2:30pm, 50 minutes allocated per standard hockey leagues anywhere. The 50 minutes allotted for the games includes warm-up, stoppages of play, and playing time.

Fact - We are a House league hockey program, not a rental. As such, every standard application of a hockey House league applies to what we are. We do not claim, try, or want to be a shinny / pick-up / rental type set-up. We are a League program and we don't claim or want to be anything else.

Fact - We are open to all levels of players. We encourage players to join our league. We are not exclusive or elitist other than the age designation and gender for the league.

Fact - We advertise three different levels of play, and try to sort players to those levels.

Fact - Every player ,before they join the O50 league knows the facts noted above, .

Fact - If our programming mandated that we remove our O50 program in its current format, or radically alter how it's operated, we will.

Fact - We ask for volunteer team representatives. As per my responsibility, I do vet who we accept to act in those roles. Some people are better suited to it than others.

Fact - Historically the teams have been very well balanced. To claim they haven't is simply false. The assertion that I, as the coordinator responsible for the assessment of players' skills, formulation of the teams, and balancing of the teams, am not capable of this duty, is factually inaccurate.

I don't say this with any conceit, just a point of fact, how often in 17 years have the respective O50 divisions been drastically and/or poorly unbalanced?

Anyone is entitled to their opinions, but the fact remains the record of the O50 league over the past 17 years speaks for itself.

Fact - I have in the past, offered the opportunity to the team representatives to draft the teams. They declined. The offer is open-ended.

However, as the league coordinator, I, in my duty as the RA Representative of the League, reserve the right to determine who is part of any committee. As I stated previously, some people are better suited to the role as a team rep or evaluator, than others.

Fact - There are any number of factors that determine the outcome of games - who is here to play, who isn't here to play, the use of spares, and goaltending to name a few. Any/all or a combination of these factors come into play every week.

Fact - We'd welcome some constructive input with regards to rating players and devising a system with respect to the use of spares.

Fact - Our arena ice time is divided by the hockey league programming and usage, and rental usage. We, the programming side, were not aware that Friday at 12:30pm was available for league use as it has perennially been used for rentals. No consideration was ever given to using it for our league program until it was brought to our attention that it was unused.

Given the RA's mandate to increase its membership base, if we were to program the 12:30pm time into our league structure, we would look to increase the number of Friday players from its current capacity. Even and including allowing players from the Tuesday and Wednesday group to join. We recognize that this wouldn't satisfy the mandate of increasing RA members, but it would allow other players another opportunity to play throughout the week.

One of our goals from the inception of the program was to provide men 50+ years of age an opportunity to play league hockey.

Fact - Half of the current group of goalies we have for the Friday program are not in favour of playing 1.5hr games. Both Jim Claydon and Eric Steigerwald expressed no desire to play 1.5hr games. Terry Sewell said he would. He didn't indicate if he'd be willing to play 3hrs if a goalie was needed for a second game? We didn't receive a reply from Mike Gosselin.

Just to entertain the idea of playing 1.5hr games for the moment, I would ask those of you who are so adamant about doing so, the following:

Did you ask the goalies how they feel about it? Do you care what they think? If one of them couldn't make a game, would the other guys be willing and/or able to play 3hrs? If not, would we be as easily able to find another goalie willing to play 1.5hrs?

In the zeal to play 1.5hrs, does it matter to anyone if we have goalies?

From personal observation, and one that can be backed up by our score keeper and penalty records, a number of players don't take to losing all that well, including some of those who emailed originally. In our current games when a team is getting blown out and / or the game isn't going well for you, and players are getting upset and angry, how would players react if the blowout was twice as bad because of the extra time? How would the goalies / team feel giving up 10-15 goals versus 6-7?

It's easy to not even consider that; it's easy to blow it off as if it would never happen. But I watch most of the games and I know the attitudes and temperament of virtually all the players. I can say without hesitation that those issues would raise their heads.

How many more penalties would be incurred in the extra length games? And with those additional penalties, that would probably mean more game ejections and/or suspensions. Players react poorly now when they get a penalty or two they think is not deserved. It's unreasonable to think they'd react better in a longer game, when every stress due to it, is added on.

Have any of these things been considered? From a Coordinator's perspective, these things need to be considered.

Fact - This issue has been discussed with the Recreation department Manager, Pat Coyne, and we, the RA Centre, do not currently have any desire to modify the O50 program to include 1.5hr games.

Fact - If we offer 1.5hr games to anyone, we're tacitly obligated to offer it to everyone.

We don't have the resources to do that. In that case, we run the risk of creating a resentment amongst our other user groups, the Tuesday, Wednesday, and quite possibly all of our evening and weekend hockey league programs.

Fact - We do not, and have never, hidden what the type of O50 league we offer. We have made changes over the years to try and improve the program, and address our members' needs and wants. Some of those changes have made us better. It has been, and still is, a successful program. We will always consider constructive input from our members to try and improve upon it.

But we are not running a rental where the conditions described earlier in the email apply. It's a House league! We use referees. We have face-offs. We have a break at the half. We allot 50 minutes. We run it like with most of the same basics that every other league operates by.

Unless mandated differently, we will continue to operate our O50 House league as we have for the past 17 years. We will always be open to ideas that may improve upon what we offer.

But we also understand that we will never satisfy every single person. And at some point, if anyone is so dissatisfied with what we offer, they have the right to choose to go elsewhere to find what better suits their needs.

With respect to assigning replacement players.

Instead of complaining about it, I would like to suggest everyone just go out and play. Stop worrying about anyone and everyone else, and concentrate on what you bring to the table.

Mark Fish

Coordinator | League Operations
Coordonnateur | Activités des ligues
Tel. 613-736-6237



-----Original Message------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tom Evans [mailto:evans320@rogers.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 11:03 AM

To: Mark Fish
Cc: Mike Leger; Brian Gunnell; Bruce Cappon; Norman Boswall; Randy Harris
Subject: Friday RA Hockey League

Hello Mark

There's a lot of talk about the Friday RA league that you may not hear about, there are concerns that the league could change in directions that many would not like, and at the same time suggestions for improvement have been largely rejected. Many players feel they should have input, when in reality all decisions are made by you with little or no consultation with the players.

Finding a good hockey game is challenging, getting the right level of skills, balancing the teams, control on the rough stuff, and the amount of structure. We all like the Friday RA Hockey league, as evidenced by the fact that 90% of the players come back every year. But we are the customers, we pay the bills, in fact we pay a substantial premium over the ice rental cost, and frustration with the format could result in players finding other games, as has happened in the past. I don't want that to happen.

Some issues

Length of the game

Many players find the 44 minute game, with many stoppages, very short.  It has been proposed to increase the game length to 1.5 hours. Ice time is available (12:30-1:30) and virtually all the players are in favour, based on a verbal survey.

You have responded saying you are looking at changing to a 6-team league, to maximize the revenue to the RA. The 6 team idea has been rejected by you in the past, (Sept 2011) so why is it now a good idea, when the players want something else? Just for the money?

Do we want a 6-team league? IF players could be found, there will be some younger/better players, and probably some slower ones, the current range of skills is quite narrow (a good thing) and we'd like to keep it that way. This is a 50+ league, but the average age must be 60, and very few players are under 55.

There are other ways to reduce increase hockey time and reduce stoppages, such as eliminating the stoppage between periods, or eliminating icing, but these have been rejected by you.


Team Balancing

Nothing gets discussed more than this among the players, but we have zero input. I don't see how the players can be evaluated from the window upstairs, you have to be on the ice playing with and against each other. The evidence that team balancing is not done well is clear.

This year the Friday group started out fairly even for the first half. Then with the new year departures you made some inexplicable moves, including giving the best team (White) the best player available (Gord). You did actually ask the team reps for input, and two of them said Gord should go to Red (so they told me). Now White is 8-2 in the last 10 and Red is 1-8-1.

Input from Players

Why not get input from the players? Stopping in the bar for 5 minutes or occasionally talking with one or two players does not constitute consultation. Why not have a meeting, now before the season ends, and those that want to get involved can get involved. We want to make this the best league around.

I've copied a few players who I've talked with a lot about this, actually at least one on each team.

Thanks for your attention to our concerns.