Hockey Calgary Board Approves Operations Committee Recommendations for the 2020-21 Hockey Season

 

At the time of writing we are now 6 weeks into the Pandemic that so abruptly ended the hockey season. We are hopeful that all member families are safe and coping well in this difficult time. While the 20-21 minor hockey season is a low priority with the numerous other challenges families are facing, Hockey Calgary and our Member Associations continue to plan for an ‘on time’ start to the upcoming season. Many of the planned changes have been in the works for months, and while we are unsure of how next season will unfold, our goal is to plan ahead and provide advance notice to the upcoming changes.

On Monday April 27, 2020, the Hockey Calgary Board of Directors approved recommendations from the Operations Committee for the 20-21 season. The Operations Committee is a Standing Committee of the Hockey Calgary Board comprised of key stakeholders including the Presidents (or delegates) of the 21 Member Associations within Hockey Calgary (including Elite, Female, Rec & Community Hockey). This Committee is tasked with advising on structure and direction for all streams of hockey within Hockey Calgary for the betterment of the full membership.

This committee meets regularly as a full group or in smaller sub-committees to develop recommendations for the HC Board. These recommendations have been voted on and approved by both the Operations Committee and the Board.

Please take the time to view all the attached documentation which detail reasoning and rationale used for all changes. These changes are ‘player and family centered’ and meant to benefit all members.

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League Operating Changes

In the fall of 2019, a ‘League Structure’ sub-committee was created to review the current processes in place surrounding the operation of the Hockey Calgary Leagues. This sub-committee included key stakeholders from member associations (ice schedulers, administrators, presidents) and members of the HC staff.

 

HC League will operate as follows for the 2020-21 Season:

Please note these decisions are irrespective of COVID-19, and more changes may be necessary to deal with the challenges faced in light of the current Pandemic

 

1. League Structure Format (see linked 2020-21 Timeline)

  • Shortened ‘Seeding Round’ – 2-4 less games depending on Age Category
    • Reduced to 4 weeks (5 weekends) in duration. No schedule window provided for tournaments
  • Longer ‘Regular Season’ – 2-4 more games depending on Age Category
    • More meaningful Games in League Play as season starts early December
  • 7-9 Tournament Windows/Weekends available over course of season
  • U9 Scheduling – No games before 8:00 AM
  • Goal to increase the number 75-minute permits for Hockey Calgary games
  • Family Day – concerted effort to avoid games on Family Day itself. Unfortunately, games will still be scheduled on the weekend of Family Day

 

2.  Hockey Canada U11 (Atom) ‘PlayerPathway’ (see linked U11 PlayerPathway )

  •  Introduction of the U11 Player Pathway as mandated by Hockey Canada
    • 4 pre-evaluation skates and no evaluations during the 1st week of September
    • Designated development phases, seasonal breaks, and game and tournament maximums
    • U11 ‘Hybrid Goalie’ Policy which would allow registrants, who meet specific criteria, the ability to dress as both a ‘skater’ and ‘goaltender’

 

3.  Tournament Policy (see linked Tournament Policy)

  • Structured policy to address the following issues:
    • To ensure qualified officials are available for appropriate levels o Tournaments being cancelled due to lack of available teams
    • Burning of ice when events are cancelled
  • NEW – Regular Season Schedule window can be used to ‘Weekend Off’ if desired
  • NEW – Tournament are now permitted in Calgary during the League Play (with limits)

 

4. Pilot Projects

  • U7/Timbit Pilot Scheduling – Hockey Calgary will pilot a 5-8 game schedule in parts of the city
  • ‘Set Days of the Week’ (Work in Progress) – HC will attempt to pilot scheduling games on set days of the week. Pilot will be for select age categories and divisions.

 

For more information on League Operating Changes: see linked Infographic and ’FAQ’s’

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Boundaries

In the spring of 2019 Hockey Calgary announced changes to the boundaries that were subsequently overturned by the courts. The courts concluded that under the current bylaws Hockey Calgary could not:

  • Eliminate a Member Association without cause (or consent of that Association)
  • Could not unilaterally change boundaries without a recommendation from the Operations Committee

At the August 2019 Operations Committee Meeting, members ‘unanimously’ agreed to make modifications to boundaries that would target ‘Community Hockey Association’ sizes between 900 – 1100 members. Their approved recommendations are as follows:

 

1. NE Zone – Saints, Simons Valley, McKnight, Blackfoot

For the 2020-21 season, the Saints Association will only operate U18 (Midget) and House League programs. Remaining Saints players will be distributed across the Associations of Simons Valley, McKnight and Blackfoot effective for the 20-21 season. (Please see linked Boundaries Additional Information Document)

  • Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget aged players during the 2019-20 season (2003 – 2008 born athletes) will have a 3-week opt-in period to select the neighbouring Association of their choice (Blackfoot, McKnight, Simons Valley).
    • Younger siblings (who played with the Saints during the 2019-20 season) will be permitted to move with their older siblings.
  • Initiation, Novice and Atom players aged players during the 2019-20 season (2009 – 2014 born athletes) must register with the designated Associations (see linked Boundary Map)

 

 

2. NW Zone – Bow River, Crowfoot, NW Warriors

The implementation of the merger from 3 Associations to 2 in the NW Zone will be delayed until the 2021-22 season as common ground was not found during the 2019-20 season. The 3 Associations have until October 1, 2020 to come to an agreed upon solution. If at that point, an agreement is not in place, an independent arbitrator will be selected to facilitate a final agreement.

All 3 Associations Agreed:

  • To work together for greater good of NW macro community
  • To move from 3 to 2 Associations to align with rest of the city (approx. 1000 members)
  • That it is ‘ideal’ for NW area kids to play and practice in NW part of city

Challenges:

  • Ice Balancing across the 3 Associations
  • Ice Ownership
  • Community Association ‘Power’ & Flexibility (Bylaw Constraints)

 

 

3. Southeast – Blackfoot, Bow Valley

The Douglasdale Community will move to the Blackfoot Association effective the 2020-21 playing season with ‘specific grandfathering criteria’. (Please see linked Boundaries Additional Information Document)

Rationale:

  • BV is largest and fastest growing Association over last 10 years. Membership is at the upper limit of the range outlined by the Operations Committee recommendation of 900-1100 players
  • Geographically this community is best fit to move to Blackfoot
  • Blackfoot (800 players) needs numbers from both North & South to achieve 900-1100 range

 

 

4. Southwest – Glenlake, Southwest

The CKE Communities will move to the Southwest Association effective the 2020-21 playing season with ‘specific grandfathering criteria’. (Please see linked Boundaries Additional Information Document)

Rationale:

  • Glenlake is 2nd largest Association in HC and continues to grow. Membership is at the upper limit of the range outlined by the Operations Committee recommendation of 900-1100 players
  • Geographically CKE is best fit to move to Southwest.
  • Southwest (914 players) has declining registration and need numbers to stay in the 900-1100 range

(see linked Boundary Map)

 

 

 

Thank you in advance for your support of these initiatives. Hockey Calgary and our Member Associations have worked hard to improve our programs. We have compiled a list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ that may help to further clarifying these changes. Enjoy your summer and stay safe.

We will drop the puck again!!!

Kevin Kobelka

Executive Director