Chilliwack Minor Hockey is giving serious thought to adding a paid player/coach development coordinator, and the idea will be a hot topic at the upcoming AGM (date and time at end of article).
In an interview with the Chilliwack Progress on Thursday, CMHA president David Soltys admitted his organization hasn’t had the on-ice results he’d like to see.
A handful of local teams earned recognition at the league level in 2011-12, but no Chilliwack teams made much noise provincially.
The story has been the same the last few years, with CMHA struggling to compete against B.C.’s best.
Soltys believes the solution starts at the youngest levels, where CMHA’S registration numbers are strong but the player development is weak.
“Our biggest asset is the parents who come in with those younger kids and want to coach, and one of the biggest disappointments is hearing those parents are running into a wall where no one is telling them what to do,” Soltys said. “So what we’re looking to do is create a new director position where that person isn’t going to have anything to do other than player and coach development.”
CMHA has gone down the volunteer path in the past, only to find the well-intentioned volunteers couldn’t dedicate the necessary time to the task.
For that reason, Soltys leans heavily towards making it a paid position.
“We feel like it might be something we can’t put on a volunteer, that it might be a little too much,” he said. “Asking one of our existing coaches to do it, their focus is going to be on their team and everything else is going to be peripheral. That’s why we want to step it up and make sure whoever takes it on is making it their primary focus.”
Ultimately, Soltys wants a three-to-five year plan in place where Chilliwack will start competing provincially at the younger levels, and eventually see that talent filtering up to the older levels.
“There are some good examples out there where this has worked quite well, and I’ve got some more research to do over the next couple weeks,” Soltys said. “We’d be looking to model this position after one of those that has worked well.”
Off the ice, Soltys said they did some good work this year cleaning up some administration and policy issues. But more is required, and Soltys is looking for volunteer help.
“It’s one of our most pressing concerns, and we think there’s a lot of people out there who want to help,” he said. “We probably have 400 people helping out at the team level, and not too many associations have that type of support. But there’s a lot of peripheral stuff at the administration level that needs help.”
CMHA has or wants to have a handful of core committees; tournament coordination, ice coordination, sponsorship and fundraising, media and public relations, policy improvement and female hockey.
“It’s easy to say we need volunteers, but we haven’t had it laid out and made it easy for people to sign up for these positions,” Soltys admitted. “We need good people from different age groups to be on those committees so we can make some progress, and now we have a list and we can fill our needs in a more organized way.”
CMHA’s newfound organization has spilled over into registration, where the association has re-embraced online sign-ups.
Registration for returning players is online now at cmha.goalline.ca
CMHA is utilizing the Hockey Canada Online Registration System, following the lead of other area associations.
“It’s an efficient system that gives us the information we need and immensely reduces the strain on our office administrator,” Soltys explained.
Registration for returnees stays open until April 30.
An open registration for players who are new to CMHA or new to hockey in general will be held June 2, from 8 a.m. to noon at Twin Rinks.
l CMHA’s AGM will be held May 16 at 7 p.m. in the Fraser Room at Twin Rinks.