Minor hockey boundary fight comes to council table

Community Mar 28, 2018 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

An ongoing battle to fix restrictive minor hockey boundary rules that threaten the future of several local organizations moved to Hamilton’s city council chamber March 26.

After hearing a summary of concerns from Ed Finoro, president of Flamborough Minor Hockey — also speaking on behalf of the Dundas, Stoney Creek and Hamilton Huskies associations — several councillors on the healthy and safe communities committee grilled and chastised Ontario Minor Hockey Association executive director Ian Taylor.

Taylor argued the four associations, who say archaic boundaries unfairly limit movement of male rep players throughout Hamilton associations, do not represent the entire city.

“We continue trying to identify what the challenges are, and it’s ongoing,” Taylor told the committee. “We’ve got to address the issues within our larger organization.

“We have to balance that with the other groups. There are a lot of moving parts.”

Those answers did not satisfy councillors, who noted they have no control over provincial minor hockey governing bodies but would offer what support they can to the frustrated local groups.

The committee referred the issue to staff and asked them to report back before the end of April. The local associations asked the city to help them get the OMHA to discuss fixing the boundary restrictions.

Coun. Jason Farr pointed out the OMHA has long been aware of concerns formally expressed by the associations over the past two years, and an extensive survey by the City of Hamilton of hockey families in all 15 wards last year, where most respondents supported opening boundaries for male rep players in Hamilton.

“You know what their message is, and you’ve known for many months now,” Farr said.

Coun. Matthew Green suggested the local associations consider legal action against the OMHA, and talking to the province of Ontario about any funding it provides to the provincial hockey governing body.

“What’s the absolute downside of acquiescing to the wishes of these organizations,” Green asked Taylor. “What’s the downside of what they’re asking?”

“It’s not everyone in the City of Hamilton,” Taylor said.

Finoro said keeping boundaries closed between former municipalities and communities of Hamilton have the group of four “teetering” on the brink of losing city-subsidized ice because they may not be able to meet Hamilton’s residential requirements.

“Your community based programs will be put in danger,” Finoro said.

Dundas and Stoney Creek have cancelled rep teams because there weren’t enough players available for those teams within the community, and players from other Hamilton communities could not join, even if they had no team to play on in their association.

The group has identified examples where less-capable players have been brought into a rep team in order to keep it afloat. They say others have left Hamilton for hockey to play in “rogue” leagues not overseen by the OMHA.

“I don’t know why (the OMHA) have stubbornly maintained their territorialism,” said Coun. Tom Jackson. “The oligarchy doesn’t want to give up their territorialism.”

Jackson suggested he hasn’t much hope the governing organizations will agree to give up control, but supported a resolution to provide symbolic assistance.


Minor hockey boundary fight comes to council table

Committee members grill Ontario Minor Hockey Association director

Community Mar 28, 2018 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

An ongoing battle to fix restrictive minor hockey boundary rules that threaten the future of several local organizations moved to Hamilton’s city council chamber March 26.

After hearing a summary of concerns from Ed Finoro, president of Flamborough Minor Hockey — also speaking on behalf of the Dundas, Stoney Creek and Hamilton Huskies associations — several councillors on the healthy and safe communities committee grilled and chastised Ontario Minor Hockey Association executive director Ian Taylor.

Taylor argued the four associations, who say archaic boundaries unfairly limit movement of male rep players throughout Hamilton associations, do not represent the entire city.

“We continue trying to identify what the challenges are, and it’s ongoing,” Taylor told the committee. “We’ve got to address the issues within our larger organization.

“The oligarchy doesn’t want to give up their territorialism."
Coun. Tom Jackson

“We have to balance that with the other groups. There are a lot of moving parts.”

Those answers did not satisfy councillors, who noted they have no control over provincial minor hockey governing bodies but would offer what support they can to the frustrated local groups.

The committee referred the issue to staff and asked them to report back before the end of April. The local associations asked the city to help them get the OMHA to discuss fixing the boundary restrictions.

Coun. Jason Farr pointed out the OMHA has long been aware of concerns formally expressed by the associations over the past two years, and an extensive survey by the City of Hamilton of hockey families in all 15 wards last year, where most respondents supported opening boundaries for male rep players in Hamilton.

“You know what their message is, and you’ve known for many months now,” Farr said.

Coun. Matthew Green suggested the local associations consider legal action against the OMHA, and talking to the province of Ontario about any funding it provides to the provincial hockey governing body.

“What’s the absolute downside of acquiescing to the wishes of these organizations,” Green asked Taylor. “What’s the downside of what they’re asking?”

“It’s not everyone in the City of Hamilton,” Taylor said.

Finoro said keeping boundaries closed between former municipalities and communities of Hamilton have the group of four “teetering” on the brink of losing city-subsidized ice because they may not be able to meet Hamilton’s residential requirements.

“Your community based programs will be put in danger,” Finoro said.

Dundas and Stoney Creek have cancelled rep teams because there weren’t enough players available for those teams within the community, and players from other Hamilton communities could not join, even if they had no team to play on in their association.

The group has identified examples where less-capable players have been brought into a rep team in order to keep it afloat. They say others have left Hamilton for hockey to play in “rogue” leagues not overseen by the OMHA.

“I don’t know why (the OMHA) have stubbornly maintained their territorialism,” said Coun. Tom Jackson. “The oligarchy doesn’t want to give up their territorialism.”

Jackson suggested he hasn’t much hope the governing organizations will agree to give up control, but supported a resolution to provide symbolic assistance.


Minor hockey boundary fight comes to council table

Committee members grill Ontario Minor Hockey Association director

Community Mar 28, 2018 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

An ongoing battle to fix restrictive minor hockey boundary rules that threaten the future of several local organizations moved to Hamilton’s city council chamber March 26.

After hearing a summary of concerns from Ed Finoro, president of Flamborough Minor Hockey — also speaking on behalf of the Dundas, Stoney Creek and Hamilton Huskies associations — several councillors on the healthy and safe communities committee grilled and chastised Ontario Minor Hockey Association executive director Ian Taylor.

Taylor argued the four associations, who say archaic boundaries unfairly limit movement of male rep players throughout Hamilton associations, do not represent the entire city.

“We continue trying to identify what the challenges are, and it’s ongoing,” Taylor told the committee. “We’ve got to address the issues within our larger organization.

“The oligarchy doesn’t want to give up their territorialism."
Coun. Tom Jackson

“We have to balance that with the other groups. There are a lot of moving parts.”

Those answers did not satisfy councillors, who noted they have no control over provincial minor hockey governing bodies but would offer what support they can to the frustrated local groups.

The committee referred the issue to staff and asked them to report back before the end of April. The local associations asked the city to help them get the OMHA to discuss fixing the boundary restrictions.

Coun. Jason Farr pointed out the OMHA has long been aware of concerns formally expressed by the associations over the past two years, and an extensive survey by the City of Hamilton of hockey families in all 15 wards last year, where most respondents supported opening boundaries for male rep players in Hamilton.

“You know what their message is, and you’ve known for many months now,” Farr said.

Coun. Matthew Green suggested the local associations consider legal action against the OMHA, and talking to the province of Ontario about any funding it provides to the provincial hockey governing body.

“What’s the absolute downside of acquiescing to the wishes of these organizations,” Green asked Taylor. “What’s the downside of what they’re asking?”

“It’s not everyone in the City of Hamilton,” Taylor said.

Finoro said keeping boundaries closed between former municipalities and communities of Hamilton have the group of four “teetering” on the brink of losing city-subsidized ice because they may not be able to meet Hamilton’s residential requirements.

“Your community based programs will be put in danger,” Finoro said.

Dundas and Stoney Creek have cancelled rep teams because there weren’t enough players available for those teams within the community, and players from other Hamilton communities could not join, even if they had no team to play on in their association.

The group has identified examples where less-capable players have been brought into a rep team in order to keep it afloat. They say others have left Hamilton for hockey to play in “rogue” leagues not overseen by the OMHA.

“I don’t know why (the OMHA) have stubbornly maintained their territorialism,” said Coun. Tom Jackson. “The oligarchy doesn’t want to give up their territorialism.”

Jackson suggested he hasn’t much hope the governing organizations will agree to give up control, but supported a resolution to provide symbolic assistance.