EDMONTON, AB - The Canadian Hockey Association's Board of Directors made some key decisions in regard to the upcoming hockey season and the future of hockey in Canada on Monday at the CHA's Annual General Meeting.
Highlights out of Monday's plenary session were a proposal by the Ottawa District Hockey Association to change the age groupings in minor hockey starting with the 2001-2002 season, and a proposal for an assessment of $1.50 per registered member of the CHA that would be used towards the creation of the National Coach Mentorship Program (NCMP).
The age change proposal was tabled until the CHA's next Annual General Meeting that will be held in May 2001 in Ottawa, ON. The proposal called for the re-structuring of age categories in minor hockey. Proposed groupings were: Midget 15, 16, 17 years old, from 16 and 17 now; Bantam 13 and 14 years old, from 14 and 15 currently; Pee Wee 11 and 12 from 12 and 13 currently, Atom 9 and 10 from 10 and 11 currently; Novice would be 8 years old, from 8 and 9 currently; Initiation 7 and under, which would remain unchanged.
The CHA Board will continue to gather critical information related to the proposed age change over the next 12 months, and will vote on the proposal again next year. If approved at next year's AGM, the re-structuring of age categories would commence in the 2001-2002 season.
The CHA Board unanimously approved a new initiative to enhance coaching development of minor hockey coaches in Canada with a new National Coach Mentorship Program. The NCMP will be built around the training and licensing of volunteer mentor coaches. The program will commence at the start of the 2000-2001 season. The CHA will provide a national training seminar in August, that will provide the framework for the program implementation and delivery. The 13 member Branches of the CHA will then be responsible for the delivery of the volunteer mentorship training and monitoring within their territory, after attending the national seminar.
The NCMP is the CHA's priority response to the recommendations derived from the Molson Open Ice Summit last summer in Toronto. Coach mentorship was the number one recommendation that came from Open Ice Summit, which brought together the key stakeholders of the game at all levels of hockey.
"The Canadian Hockey Association has rapidly moved ahead in responding to the Molson Open Ice recommendations, and the National Coach Mentorship Program has been our number one priority at the board table since the August summit," said Bob Nicholson, President, Canadian Hockey Association. "The CHA Board must be commended for moving forward this important initiative for the development of coaches and ultimately players in Canada from coast to coast."
A professional coach mentoring program, where identified mentor coaches will trained and certified through a national association, will be the second part of the NCMP upon approval of the CHA Board, but will not come into effect until the 2001-2002 season.
The Canadian Hockey Association have been the leaders in responding to the Molson Open Ice Summit recommendations over the past nine months, with creating more emphasis on communication, player and coach development programs, an officiating 'respect' program and five development related pilot projects.
"The CHA has stepped up in responding to the Open Ice recommendations by creating new programs and initiatives to enhance minor hockey in Canada. We now look at the other constituents that attended the Molson Open Ice summit, including the NHL, CHL and NHLPA to step forward with their expertise and resources in response to the summit recommendations," continued Nicholson.
The CHA's Annual General Meeting concludes tomorrow afternoon in Edmonton, AB at the Sheraton Grande Hotel. Media requests can be directed to Brad Pascall, Director, Communications for the CHA by calling the hotel at 780-428-7111, room 2204. For more information on the Canadian Hockey Association and the Annual General Meeting, visit the official web site of the CHA at www.canadianhockey.ca.