Outgoing president has sobering message
Volunteers feeling pressure and abuse from parents, fans
By BURTON K. JANES The Compass The outgoing president of Bay Arena minor hockey gave a sobering assessment of the association’s future during its annual general meeting in Bay Roberts on June 16.
The meeting attracted nearly 50 people.
Perry A. Mercer described the 2010-11 season as successful, with some some 300 young people registered, making it among the top-10 largest associations in the province.
But, he outlined several weakness which he believes must be addressed.
He expressed concerns about what he described as “ burnout” among volunteers, and blamed the situation on “increasing political posturing, pressure from parents, and so much abuse.”
Mercer said there are very few rewards for volunteers, but described the complaints as “ numerous and hurtful.” Fundraising slipping Mercer also raised concerns about the effort going into fundraising.
He’s concerned that inadequate fundraising will necessitate an increase in registration costs, which will affect “those who find it difficult to pay for these expenses now.”
And while interest in the house league program declined in 2010-11, interest in all-star hockey increased.
Mercer pointed out that Bay Arena minor hockey was created for the benefit of “all children in our region ... many children just want to have fun, here among friends.”
He worries the association is becoming too focused on high-level competition.
“ Not every child wants to play body contact; not very child wants to travel; not every child wants to be a future NHL star,” he stated. Retaining officials Bay Arena minor is also facing challenges with the retention of onice officials, a factor Mercer blames on “so many other interests, jobs with better pay, and abuse given to young officials by coaches and parents alike.”
An added concern is that the association no longer has a referee-inchief. The position was held for the past decade by Clarke’s Beach resident Eddie Russell.
“ He’s done a great service to this association. He will be missed,” said Mercer.
Meanwhile, Mercer said many positives things are happening, and listed a variety of activities that took place during the season. Some of them include: hockey camp; new weekly free skills skating and shooting program;development camp for goaltenders; and certification upgrades for coaches.
He also highlighted the fact that there was plenty of success on the ice.
The newly elected president, Brian Drover, declined an interview.