There is no question that the landscape of hockey is evolving rapidly to meet with today's societal norms.
When the parent organizations (such as Hockey Canada, etc.) implement changes, oftentimes it is of more benefit to large centres, such as the ones based in major city centres. Every change makes it harder to maintain "small town" hockey. What we then strive to do as a board, is to maintain our identity, while ensuring longevity, stability, and sustained success for the Association, but more importantly, for our members. With the recent amalgamation of Essex and Southpoint (Talbot Trail Blazers), and the impending amalgamation of other local centres currently in talks, failure to act on our part is a disservice to our membership. It is not about what we need today, but more about what we will need within the next few years.
With that said, the executive board met on Tuesday evening where we discussed and approved the exploration of a joint application to the OMHA to merge with Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA). On the same evening, AMHA board voted and approved the same decision. Timelines will make it very likely that this venture (should it come to fruition) would not be in play until the 2025/26 season as a full amalgamation. However, it is a possibility that we could be looking at a Shared Boundary Initiative for the upcoming 2024/25 season.
Both boards have agreed to submit a notice of intention to OMHA, which will be reviewed at their December meeting. With OMHA approval, both boards expect to proceed with working on the parameters of this joint venture. This is not something that either association is taking lightly and will take time and patience to work through the details. At every step of the way, we will maintain open lines of communication to our membership, to ensure the highest level of transparency. Please expect a number of town hall sessions to be scheduled for our membership, giving you all ample opportunity to both receive information, and offer your input.
The final say will be yours – it is mandated by Hockey Canada and the rules surrounding the merging of not-for-profit organizations, before this is official and a merge takes place, a vote of the membership WILL take place. A two thirds majority approval rate is required to move forward at that time. Please take the upcoming opportunities offered by our Association to learn information and facts so that you can make a well-informed decision when it is time.
Should you have any questions that you think we can answer, please feel free to reach out to Gary Toupin at [email protected].
Yours in hockey,
The ENS Minor Hockey Board