Response #1 I have spent some time looking into this proposal, researching the Toronto area and well as that of the Northern Ontario League and several USA jurisdictions ( Detroit, Chicago and New Jersey ). I have certainly discovered that there is no easy resolution to what you and your committee are facing. I hope I will not bore you with some of this info but I just feel that the committee's decision could severely jeopardize the development and any possible future in hockey; whether it is Minor Junior, OHL or NCAA for Jr. 67 AAA players and other team organizations within our league. I know that this is something neither you nor the committee want to see happen. My son xxx plays for the xxxxxxxx team and I have no personal agenda when speaking on this topic. I can really only speak for my son and other boys at the xxxxxxxxx level. Most of these boys have spent the last 4-5 years playing together and all are now best friends. This team has developed extremely well and we have been blessed with great coaches and mentors for our boys. The xxxx are an elite organization and we can say that our son has developed to where he is by their standards. Unfortunately, all this can change by a vote that has not been completely investigated to solve the perceived league imbalance. We are a city family and love everything about the city. If we wanted to reside, work or play in the country we would have moved there. But, this is something that may be forced upon us by this proposal?? I have also spoken and personally know many xxxxxx, xxxxxx, xxxxx families, and every organization develops their hockey players differently. We chose the xxxxx development program and this is also something that may be taken away from us? I just wanted to touch on my findings when looking in to other league issues similar to ours; - GTHL... I am sure you are familiar with their evolving rules on equality...there are none. The import rule seems to have vanished and no one sitting on the board has the time to investigate player jurisdictional issues. They have pretty well opened up the boundaries and individual organizations scout out players. This might not be a bad thing within our area however, I feel with this proposal that this is where we are headed for Ottawa. In 2-3 years when we continue to see strong and weak teams, and cannot blame it on association population or wins where do you go then to fix the problem. This is what occurred in the GTHL, so they just phased in or out the jurisdictional rules and now a large populated area has 5 or 6 of the top teams in Ontario. - USA... This is simple. Chicago had a very similar situation to what you are facing and in the beginning did move around boundaries. The problem here was people were spending hours travelling...similar to what will occur here. The Board decided that to compete in the top tournaments, develop top team's they dropped down 6 teams to a Tier 11 level ( AA for us ). That seems to have solved the problem. They now have teams that are all competitive within their league and in international tournaments. - Detroit. They were not as patient, they dropped 7 teams from their top level. The only difference here is they allowed several organizations to develop travelling teams ( Wisconsin Fire etc. ) that were mainly tournament teams. The boys also played Tier 1 within their respective leagues, but also tried out for these travelling/tournament teams. That is a lot of hockey! I see a pattern from the US and also the Toronto league that may be forced upon us at some time. I am sure your goal is not only to balance the league but to also ensure that our Eastern teams can compete with the Toronto and large USA city teams. Unfortunately as it stands, it seems that we are only producing City teams that are at that level, being the xxxxxx and xxxxx. This proposal will drop that level to one team, the xxxxx, I see no pride in an organization like the ODMHA or OEMHL in saying that we only have one top team in our area that can compete in the big tournaments. A painful solution may be to follow the top leagues. Minimize to compete. Hockey is now a business and this is what businesses all over the world do. They compete at their minimum to be in their market. GM, Ford and most North American businesses are now downsizing to compete...I guess that is something we should look at in Minor Hockey. My proposal...at AAA only...downsize to the Titan's..67's..Wild ( Wild get back Cornwall area ), and amalgamate the Cyclones with Sen's. This would produce 4 strong teams within the East that could compete at all levels. To further develop, arrange league sanctioned mini weekends ( similar to what they do in Ringette, NCAA sports etc. ) Play Kingston area teams back to back, home and away, play sanctioned exhibition games vs Gatineau and Montreal teams. Every home game would be a match!, and all teams would be in the competition at tournaments. We could be proud of our Eastern Ontario teams! Response #2 Proposal for Boundary Changes- OPTION #3 The current proposals both 1 and 2 clearly create problems for South Stormont as well for UCC. UCC already with the lowest draw pool have to give away an area in order to gain a potentially different area (option 1) and still end up with the least number of registrants. In addition South Stormon t is clearly closer for driving purposes to the UCC and is a potential growth area for the UCC. Both options 1 and 2 appear to benefit Wild disproportionately and clearly provide no benefit to UCC who already struggle with the lowest numbers. The concern is that Wild already has the second highest draw and a benefit to Wild only would not solve the problem of Parity. It is proposed Option three would be a better option given parity is the goal. In addition it also affects fewer registrants and does not make huge changes in driving time to the home association for its members. Option 3- MOVE LEITRIM EAST TO UCC The numbers below more accurately reflect parity than options 1 or 2, found below 67’s- 5578 (loss of 474)(and still the top highest draw area) Wild- 4726 (remains the same)(and still the second largest draw area) UCC- 4693 (plus 474) Titans4685 (remains the same) Sens - 4594 (remains the same) Response #3 As you are no doubt are receiving email from anyone opposed to the proposed boundary changes, I felt it important to lend my support to the proposed changes. The imbalance that has existed since the inception of AAA is obvious, and serves a very small group that no doubt wishes to continue with the status quo. Thank you for looking out for the best interests of the majority of kids playing AAA. Response #4 Unfortunately, I cannot make the meeting tonight. However, I do not support any current changes to OEMHL AAA Boundaries for the reasons below: The report summary appears to be largely based on a snapshot in time with no real appreciation of future demographics. While the numbers may seem unequal now; Gloucester and Ottawa would have seemingly little growth potential with the removal of Leitrim, resulting in the likelihood of having to make additional boundary changes again in the near future. With the maturing of the AAA program in the Ottawa area, there is an opportunity/need to rationalize and evolve the competitive hockey framework in the OEMHL region as opposed to just making minor modifications. In my opinion if changes are going to be made to the AAA program, OEMHL should: o Use this as an opportunity to consider all options for evolution of Competitive hockey in the OEMHL area incl Rep B pgms, A/AA pgms and AAA pgms to ensure as many kids as possible have the opportunity to play and develop as Competitive hockey players, at the level most suited to their skills/abilities, and within frameworks and boundaries that remain relatively constant from Minor Atom to Major Midget o Conduct a complete study of future demographics as a core input into these options o Select a forward looking option that provides the most optimal competitive framework for the OEMHL area o Develop a plan to implement the option within a timeline that makes sense and which minimizes the impact to kids already in the program. Response #5 I read the proposal and would like to submit these brief comments: 1. The success of an organization and its teams is not based solely on population. Good coaching, player development programs, etc. are probably a more important component than population. 2. I believe 5 years of trends (at least 3) would be required to produce meaningful results. 3. The population numbers shown do not indicate breakdown of population by age group and hockey level. That would be a needed part of the research. 4. It is my understanding that the boundaries were created years ago to prevent families from having to drive far distances to play and practice within their organizations. If a Leitrim or Riverside South child now needs to join the Cyclones, their time driving to Kemptville and other places south of the city will increase dramatically. This might cause families to decide to not have their children play at the AAA level. 5. My son is with the xxxxxxx AAA team this year and we live in xxxxxxxx. This is our first year with the xxxxxxx and we would not want to have to move him to another organization requiring him to have another adjustment year. Next year is the most important year in the boys' hockey development and that needs to be considered. 6. We have nothing against any of the other organizations. My comments are not about that. It's about making decisions that affect so many families that do not appear to be based on sound data. I'm sure these comments don't differ from other parents. I'm unfortunately going to be away on business this week and will miss the meeting. I look forward to hearing about the outcome. Response #6 Unfortunately neither myself nor my husband are able to attend this evening's information session on the boundary realignment, however as parents of a player who will be affected by this proposal, we would like to pass on our opinion and concerns. We live in xxxxxxxx and are, in essence, the xxxxxx border for xxxxxxx. Since our arrival in Ottawa in 2005 we have seen a tremendous housing development in both Findlay Creek and Riverside South to the point that there really is no more land left on which to build. New construction now will be focused south of us and as such will feed into a number of different hockey organizations. I suspect that in future years there will be a similar tremendous growth in their zoning areas which will, in turn, increase the number of participants in their hockey programs; there will be an automatic balancing of numbers. In our opinion, changing the boundaries now could actually put the xxxxxxx behind in numbers in future years. We are of the opinion that 'city' children should not be forced to play with rural leagues simply because the numbers don't balance out. Something as drastic and important as a boundary change has to be for reasons other than only numbers. We are not convinced that 'numbers' are a sufficient enough reason to implement the proposed changes. If part of the push to change is coming from the hope of sharing or spreading out the talent, we strongly believe that this talent was developed over a number of years. While the xxxxxxxx certainly contributed to this development through the comprehensive player program it offers, the feeder organizations had an important role to play as well. For us, this included Leitrim, the now defunct Blackhawks, and the Rangers associations. And, of course, there are those associations from the Sting side of the roster. On the more personal side of the issue, having committed to the organization through our son, having invested our time, energy and of course, money into the organization, we are disappointed at the prospect of having to start with a new organization. We are disappointed that the xxxxxxx organization does not return a similar commitment to us. Our son will be playing major midget next year and to start with a new organization for his final year in minor hockey just does not make sense - not from a developmental nor the practical perspective. If this boundary change goes ahead, there should be consideration to "grandfathering" the current 15 AAA players that are registered with the xxxxxxx Response #7 Looking at the numbers of the 5 team AAA split, the league looks pretty even. You've got your top end team and your low end team that cancel each other out and your left with 3 areas that are even. Looks pretty even to me. The numbers prove that Ottawa can only really support 4 competitive teams, not 5 teams (and not much of a league). Trying to even the playing field to appease the type 1 mom's and dad's on the 4 bottom teams is quite a challenge. Seems you will need to re-gig the boundaries every few years to account for the top end players that will appear in different boundaries and throw off the balance. Proposal 1 Keep the boundaries and move to a sort out system based on 4 teams (not 5). That's the only way you'll get your even split. The teams would do a draft system and pick their teams accordingly just like in the OHL. Proposal 2 Scrap AAA hockey and go back to what Ottawa can really support, AA hockey. The shortage of ice created by AAA is impacting the development of hockey players at the lower levels. Or at least until all the single ice pads in the city can be demolished and replaced with multi ice pads to support the AAA endeavour with less impact to the rest of minor hockey players in the city. Thanks for your attention Response #8 AAA Boundary Change Proposal In response to the AAA Sub-committee report and review of player counts for 2012-2013, I would like to offer two modifications for your consideration: Taking into account all of the stated key issues, namely: - Geography - Areas of focus (Jr 67s pop. larger than others) - Impact of draw area on standings - Locations for expected pop. growth/decline Participation of particular associations (high/low), however, will not necessarily be solved by population redistribution. Modification #1 Amend the Leitrim Minor Hockey Association (LMHA) AAA boundary revision. All players NORTH of Leitrim Road to remain with the Jr 67s. All players south of Leitrim Road go to the Cyclones. The area north of Leitrim Road, specifically Blossom Park and Upper Hunt Club, are on the very edge of the current Leitrim border. Families living there are 4 km from the Jr 67s main rinks (Peplinski, Kilrea, 12 km from Armstrong), but 50 km from the closest Cyclone Arena. Original boundaries were meant to keep players within reasonable proximity to their home team. At the AAA level, this directive will be gone unless boundary revisions take this into consideration. Neighbourhoods closer to the city core (like Blossom Park and Upper Hunt Club) do not have the population growth that the expanding outlying communities have and will continue to experience. Areas north of Leitrim Road are mature neighbourhoods in comparison to many of the communities to the south and much of the land north of Leitrim is Greenbelt, or Airport property. Players living north of Leitrim will be at the greatest disadvantage if forced to leave the Jr 67s and travel an extra 100 plus km (there and back), almost daily, if the AAA boundary is changed as per Option 1 or 2, as they currently stand. Modification #2 Implement new AAA boundary revisions for new players only, coming into the program starting in Major Peewee. ‘Grandfather’ current AAA players (at the very least the Bantam and Midget players, who are at a more critical time in their hockey program). Current players bought into the AAA program and made the financial commitment to their Jr 67s team and that commitment should be honoured. New players and parents will be able to make an informed decision, knowing in advance what they are signing on for. Conclusion A boundary change focused solely on reducing the number of total player registrants of just one team, replaces one issue with another and will most likely create its own imbalance, if growth neighbourhoods are not accounted for. Reviewing data from more than one year would be helpful in recognizing these growth areas and ultimately help build a stronger, competitive AAA association. Response #9 1 important factor to consider is that the larger areas geographically are more likely to have less players tryout because of driving. We have a player on my son’s team not tryout this season after he was a key member of the team last season. I know of several others who did not consider tryouts for this reason. I do not know how you would factor this in but it is most definitely a part of the equation. Thanks for working on this issue. Response #10 My son xxxxxx plays minor bantam with the xxxxxxxx As a stake holder in the proposed OEMHL zone realignment, I believe that we should have been consulted earlier. The first time that we learned about realignment was just over a month ago in general discussion with another parent. I must admit that we don’t go to the OEMHL web site and may have missed a posted announcement. However the OEMHL should have been proactive and contacted all stake holders for their input. I hope that the rational that was developed for Zone realignment is based on creating fairness in the opportunity for young hockey players to compete at a high level and that all 5 teams are working towards this goal. It has been my experience as a hockey parent, that bias and empire building often affect “hockey” decisions. With this in mind I would like to make the following recommendations. 1. Players presently playing AAA hockey should be “grandfathered” and allowed to continue to play for their present team. Parents have paid for all kinds of gear, including t-shirts, golf shirts, warm ups, leather jackets, photos, sponsors, etc. for their kid’s present team; they should not be required to do the same for a new team. In addition players have developed loyalties to their present team and this could be emotionally tough on them. 2. An alignment should not divide an association (all or none). Therefore Leitrim should not be split. 3. Association relationships and alliances as well as travel distance for practices and home games must be considered. West end to the Senators and Russell to cyclones would be natural. 4. Alignment should consider associations that are growing & those that are stagnant. A number of associations in Ottawa are stagnant while most growing associations are in the suburbs and rural areas. Are these associations developing their cliental or are they hoping that chipping off parts of other teams, will make it easier to become competitive. 5. Unintended effects of realignment might be players playing AA hockey, not AAA or parents moving so that their son(s) can continue to play with their present team (some of this may already be occurring, thereby shoring up where they sit). Response #11 The proposals set forth are perceived to be AAA realignment proposals; however I believe they have far reaching positive consequences to the competitive landscape not only at the AAA level, but also at the AA and B level of hockey. I congratulate the committee for their insight into ensuring competitive balance is restored to the ODMHA. The status quo cannot be maintained. Minor hockey is not all about winning, but it definitely is not about being unfair and dominant as is the case currently with the draw the Ottawa 67's have been given. Most kids and parents want the ability to come to the rink with the desire to compete at whatever level they are playing. Unfortunately that is not the case today. Development If we are to develop Tier 1 hockey players it begins at home. Focus should be on a competitive balance over a 30 game schedule. There are too many uncompetitive "league" games based on current boundaries. A more balanced league prepares kids and teams as they face teams from the GTHL and US hockey associations. Our teams are ill-prepared to compete in many instances because they are often not pushed to their competitive limits on a regular basis locally. Ultimately the experience for those pursuing hockey at higher levels and others recreationally will be significantly better in a more balanced environment. Please see examples below for 2001, 2000 and 1999 levels as they are most reflective of recent growth and influx of minor hockey participation from Leitrim. Impact on 2001 or current Major Peewee level - "The Trickle Down Effect" AAA Surprisingly the 67's would see little decline in their team strength by losing 4 or 5 players to re-distribution. Their AA draw Ottawa Sting are overwhelming the AA division without a loss in 11 games and fewer than 8 goals against. Furthermore, they are competing in out of district AAA tournaments. Depending on redistribution the 4 to 5 Ottawa 67's players would have a far greater impact on the Cyclones, Senators & Wild than what would be felt by the 67's losing these players. AA The wealth of talent in the 67's territory would backfill any talent lost in redistribution. The AA league becomes more balanced as a result in a big way. The AA Sting or Rangers may lose 4 to 5 players to the 67's creating a more balanced AA league The EO Cobras, SV Rapids & RSL Kings have a combined 5 wins in 38 games Currently there are AA calibre kids playing AAA hockey from the districts above. If these kids fall back to AA their teams they should compete more effectively along with stronger AA kids moving up to 67's. Rep B Ottawa West Golden Knights are dominating Rep B hockey. Undefeated in 9 games with only 6 goals against Losing players to AA Sting would have the effect of creating a fairer, balanced Rep B league. Impact on 2000 or current Minor Bantam level - "The Trickle Down Effect" AAA Again only a slight decline in 67's team strength is foreseen with players moving districts Their AA draw Ottawa Sting are overwhelming the AA division without a loss in 13 games and fewer than 14 goals against. Furthermore, the Rangers are second with only 3 losses in 13 games. Again, depending on redistribution the 4 to 5 Ottawa 67's players would have a far greater impact on the Cyclones, Senators & Wild than what would be felt by the 67's losing these players. AA The wealth of talent in the 67's territory would backfill any talent lost in redistribution. The AA league becomes more balanced as a result in a big way. The AA Sting or Rangers may lose 4 to 5 players to the 67's creating a more balanced AA league The EO Cobras, SV Rapids & RSL Kings are once again struggling at or near the bottom of the standings. Currently there are AA calibre kids playing AAA hockey from the districts above. If these kids fall back to AA their teams they should compete more effectively. Rep B Once again the 2000 Ottawa West Golden Knights are dominating Rep B hockey. Undefeated in 10 games with only 14 goals against Losing players to AA Sting would have the effect of creating a fairer, balanced Rep B league. Impact on 1999 or current Major BANTAM level - "The Trickle Down Effect"AAA Once again the 67's would see little decline in their team strength by losing 4 or 5 players to redistribution. Because of the strength of the District 9 territory there are 3 major Bantam teams competiting in AA (2 Ranger and 1 Sting team). A split Ranger team won the league last year ! There are plenty of players available to backfill any losses, in fact there are many playing AAA as "IMPORTS" from Ranger & Sting districts already . AA The wealth of talent in the 67's territory would backfill any talent lost in redistribution. The AA league is already more balanced as a result of the Rangers running 2 teams. It would be very unfair for 1 Ranger team at the 1999 level. Once again the Cobras, Rapids & Kings are at the bottom of the standings Rep B Difficult to quantify based on Rangers fielding 2 teams. Again only 1 Ranger team would strengthen Rep B district 9 teams Conclusion: The intended result of your plans is to focus on the inequities at the tier 1 or AAA level. The "Trickle Down" effect is probably as great or greater. You have the ability to improve the hockey experience for all in our district at all levels. There is no question that the time is now to implement the proposed changes. Based on my perception of demographics the Leitrim area will continue to grow at a rapid rate. The demographics in that region are highly favourable to hockey participation as well. It will only get worse. I submit the numbers you used in your survey are even outdated with registration in 2013/2014 raising significantly in Leitrim. I believe the proposal to divide Leitrim between the Senators and the Cyclones as the most appropriate course of action. Response #12 Options: 1. Expand the Wild draw area to include South Stormont and Russell and expand the Cyclone draw area to include all of Leitrim. Of the two options being proposed, this one makes the most sense. The demographics of the LMHA will continue to grow and will be a good feeder association for the Cyclones. The commute from anywhere in the LMHA to Kemptville or Cardinal is manageable, especially when carpooling, driving on roads that aren’t congested with traffic due to rush hour, etc. However, unfortunately for the 99 year, this will make no difference in strengthening the team as the talent taken away from the team with the proposed move of the South Stormont players will nullify the move of the LMHA players moving to Cyclones territory. 2. Expand the Wild draw area to include South Stormont and Russell and expand the Cyclone draw area to include Leitrim, east of Albion Road. Expand the Senators draw are to include Leitrim, west of Albion Road. I don’t agree with splitting the LMHA for the purposes of AAA, especially if it means more players going to the Senators. Barrhaven and Stittsville are among the fastest growing communities in Ottawa. The demographics of these areas alone is overwhelming and will allow the Senators to increase their enrollment based on the growth of those areas – they don’t need a bigger geographical area to draw from. Taking the area West of Albion (essentially Riverside South) will result in that area drawing from a third community which is increasing rapidly and the demographics will surpass any other area within the OEMHL. Areas such as Metcalfe, Greely, Osgoode and Manotick are growing as well but at a much slower pace. Again, for the 99 year, this will make no difference in strengthening the team unless you leave South Stormont with the Cyclones. Also, I am wondering if other options have been considered. For example, splitting the Orleans minor hockey association boundary and sending some of those players to the Wild instead of taking South Stormont from the Cyclones and sending them to the Wild. The Demographics in Orleans is changing rapidly more so than South Stormont so the benefits for the Wild would be greater with this sort of move. This would leave Blackburn, Gloucester, Sting and some of Orleans to the 67s, not a bad area to draw from. Response #13 Yes, yes, yes. It's time for boundaries to move. Thank you all. Response #14 Here are Leitrim's thoughts on the AAA boundary issue ... LMHA is not in support of any changes based solely on numbers. Numbers change. Leitrim, with Riverside South and Findlay Creek, is growing quickly and we can see a future where the Upper Canada Cyclone district will end up with the same sort of numerical advantage that the Jr 67's have now. What research has been done regarding population growth by AAA Zone? What do the housing starts statistics show and what are the projections? What kind of data has the committee looked at concerning school enrollment? Has an analysis of Initiation Program and Novice and Atom registrations by association, district and zone been conducted? Besides these obvious factors that all need to be taken into consideration there is the underlying question of why the Jr 67's are dominant. What study was undertaken to determine the factors besides a look at the numbers? Has a study of the Jr 67's development program been conducted? Has anyone looked at the quality and consistency of coaching from zone to zone? What, if anything, are the Jr 67's doing differently? It would seem to us in Leitrim that some sort of an analysis of the AAA district development programs and their delivery systems could prove enlightening. It is the position of the LMHA that NO changes should be undertaken without a full and complete study of ALL factors being undertaken. It is further the position of the LMHA that any changes undertaken should involve all new AAA Zone boundaries. These boundaries should be based on geographic lines. We believe a part of the problem is the committee's inability to simply move subdivisions or housing developments from one area to another. For example it makes much more sense from a proximity perspective to move Barrhaven to the Cyclone's territory but this is automatically ruled out because Barrhaven is part of Nepean Minor Hockey. If the committee must go ahead with these changes, LMHA believes those changes should be brought in gradually. Any changes should commence at the Major Pee Wee level and be carried forward year by year from there. All existing LMHA families currently playing as 67's have incurred expenses to outfit their sons in 67's gear. From pants, gloves and helmets to jackets, track suits and hats, these people have spent hundreds of dollars to be Jr 67's. With a change to the Cyclones not only is that money gone but these people would incur all new expenses to change all team attire and equipment. To conclude, the LMHA believe no changes should occur without a proper study and then should be made based on geographic and not MHA lines and then should only be brought in gradually whether the LMHA is affected or not. Response #15 Option for AAA Boundary Changes South Stormont splits along County Road 15 (Avonmore Road) – the west side of South Stormont would take in Long Sault and Ingleside and the east side would take in those players who are closer to the city of Cornwall and therefore geographically more suited to play for the Wild. For the South Stormont players and parents this would ease travel issues as it allows players coming from Cornwall and travelling to Wild practices/ games to more easily carpool with those in South Stormont. Russell still moves to Wild Leitrim – would it not make more sense to split Leitrim along a north/south boundary as opposed to an east/west boundary? For travel purposes and for future growth of this area this would be more feasible. With an east/west split you have players travelling through the Senators district to get to a cyclones game. Response #16 Option for AAA Boundary Changes South Stormont splits along County Road 15 (Avonmore Road) – the west side of South Stormont would take in Long Sault and Ingleside and the east side would take in those players who are closer to the city of Cornwall and therefore geographically more suited to play for the Wild. For the South Stormont players and parents this would ease travel issues as it allows players coming from Cornwall and travelling to Wild practices/ games to more easily carpool with those in South Stormont. Russell still moves to Wild Leitrim – would it not make more sense to split Leitrim along a north/south boundary as opposed to an east/west boundary? For travel purposes and for future growth of this area this would be more feasible. With an east/west split you have players travelling through the Senators district to get to a cyclones game.