We are writing to address the EVHA Board of Director’s recent decision regarding our Bantam level teams this year, a decision that we continue to support. Though this body is not above criticism or reproach, should criticism be forthcoming, it should be based on the facts and not innuendo, half-truths and rumors. No EVHA player was cut and every Bantam Player has been provided the opportunity to play hockey in the upcoming season.
This year, once the board believed registration was completed, the Bantam level appeared to have 51 skaters and 7 goalies. Based on the registration numbers, the Board and the Player Development Committee (PDC) determined that there were players available for three full teams with two goalies on each team and another 6 or 7 skaters with a single goalie. To field successful teams at the Bantam level in which contact is part of the game, the Board believes that a team should have 15 skaters to compensate for line change recovery, injuries, sickness, etc. Because the fourth team of 6-7 players would be too small to compete, we immediately began contacting surrounding hockey associations to create a co-operative (Co-op) team, hosted by Eastview. Initially, Apple Valley Hockey Association (AVHA) committed to provide EVHA 5 – 6 players that would have filled our fourth team. As typical with association tryouts in progress, we were hopeful that other associations would place a player or two with EVHA as well. However, once AVHA’s tryouts were completed (the day before EVHA’s tryouts were to begin), AVHA informed EVHA that it would not be able to honor the previous agreement with EVHA and could only offer two players to EVHA’s hosted Co-op team. Again, even with the addition of these two AVHA players, EVHA was short adequate numbers to field a successful team. In order to provide the 6-7 EVHA players with an opportunity to play on a Co-op team, the PDC reached out to Rosemount Hockey Association (RAHA) who agreed to provide EVHA players to form a fourth Bantam team. This arrangement was in place and negotiations around who would host the team were ongoing until Saturday, October 6th, our last day of tryouts, when RAHA asked to host the team, due to having larger numbers of host players on the Co-op team (which is generally the deciding factor in who hosts the team). RAHA would continue to agree to a Co-op team with EVHA, but, conditioned that agreement upon RAHA hosting that particular team. With little alternative at that late hour, we agreed to a Co-op Bantam team to be hosted by RAHA.
EVHA’s teams were finalized by Sunday morning October 7th and it was determined that EVHA had 15 qualified Bantam AA skaters and 2 goalies, 15 qualified Bantam B1 skaters and two goalies, 14 qualified Bantam B2 skaters and 2 goalies and 6 qualified Bantam C skaters and 1 goalie. After that determination was made, the Board contacted the parents of the 7 EVHA players and offered them the opportunity to play hockey for a Co-op team with RAHA and EVHA agreed to reimburse these players’ families for EVHA jerseys, socks and apparel. As well, EVHA agreed to apply EVHA scholarships, pay for RAHA jerseys and socks (if necessary) and agreed that these families would pay no more than EVHA fees on this Co-op team (EVHA would supplement any additional cost). One EVHA player agreed to play for RAHA and the remaining refused that offer to continue playing hockey for the RAHA/EVHA Co-op Bantam C team. These families were made aware of the RAHA imposed deadline of 6:00 pm on Sunday October 7 to accept an offer on this team which said deadline has now passed and that opportunity is now closed. As of the date of this writing, Lakeville has agreed to accept all of EVHA’s Bantam C players and EVHA has agreed to the same terms with these families as indicated with the RAHA team.
At the Bantam level, contributing in a Co-op team is a practice that all associations participate in. Having perfect numbers at the appropriate levels happens very rarely. In the past EVHA has hosted the Co-op team as well as sending our players to neighboring associations. In addition, EVHA has ice time allotted for a fourth Bantam team and we are agreeing to work with these remaining 6 families in order to form an EVHA Bantam C team with additional players from other associations. If EVHA is unable to find enough players to fill this EVHA Bantam C team, we will not be able to field a team at this level. These EVHA families are informed and have assumed the risk that if they refuse Lakeville’s offer and EVHA cannot find players to fill an EVHA Bantam C team, they will not be able to play traveling association hockey this season.
We did everything in our power to provide a successful opportunity for all 58 EVHA players at the Bantam level. To be clear, the Board and the PDC want every Eastview player to play for EVHA. We want our players to have fun, be competitive, and develop their skills in a positive environment. There were many options weighed by the Board and the PDC, but ultimately the decision came down to the number of players available at each skill level. We will continue to do what is in the best interest of our players and our association overall and the Board’s actions in this case reflect that goal.
(This message was sent to all traveling player families.)