Out­go­ing pres­i­dent has sober­ing mes­sage

Vol­un­teers feel­ing pres­sure and abuse from par­ents, fans

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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.

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