Mi­nor Hockey con­cerned over late ice time

Seek­ing as­sis­tance from Marystown town coun­cil to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - BY COLIN FARRELL OUT­FIT­TING

Mem­bers of the Marystown Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion are ask­ing the Marystown town coun­cil to step in to help re­solve a con­flict over ice time.

Michelle Dober, who spoke on be­half of the as­so­ci­a­tion at this past Tues­day’s coun­cil meet­ing, told mem­bers of coun­cil that the as­so­ci­a­tion has spo­ken with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the recre­ational hockey league’s over 45 team about trad­ing ice time so that the midget team could go on the ice ear­lier in the evening.

Dur­ing her ad­dress to coun­cil Dober ex­plained that dur­ing the start of this sea­son, a third team was needed in the midget divi­sion to help en­sure all play­ers re­ceived ad­e­quate ice time dur­ing house league play.

“We made the de­ci­sion to go with the three times know­ing that the only op­tion for the ex­tra hour was on Thurs­day evenings at 10:30 p.m af­ter the over 45 (league) time slot,” she ex­plained. “We had sin­cerely hoped that the over 45 league would switch with our mi­nor hockey midget divi­sion play­ers.”

There are 12 to 13 play­ers that hit the ice dur­ing the al­lot­ted time for the over 45.

“We feel that the town coun­cil should be step­ping in here where this mat­ter is con­cerned for the safety of these young play­ers,” she said.

She con­tin­ued that the play­ers who range from Level I to Level III stu­dents are get­ting off the ice at 11:30 p.m. and then trav­el­ling home.

Not up to coun­cil

Coun. Mary Beth Farrell said it is not coun­cil’s place to get in­volved in the mat­ter.

“It is a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion they you’re in,” she said as she spoke to the mem­bers of the mi­nor hockey as­so­ci­a­tion in at­ten­dance dur­ing the re­cre­ation com­mit­tee re­port. “And I know that you have an or­ga­ni­za­tion with rules and reg­u­la­tions that coun­cil don’t step into to ad­dress un­less there is no other so­lu­tion.

“We are here we look at both sides, the arena is here for ev­ery­one’s use and not just mi­nor hockey, it is to the ben­e­fit of every­body no mat­ter what age.”

Farrell added that the hockey as­so­ci­a­tion knew how many play­ers that had reg­is­tered and that a meet­ing was held for all user groups of the area to ar­range times.

“We don’t step in to say what times are avail­able, you should go here you should go there . . . you have an or­ga­ni­za­tion that looks af­ter that, we have an op­er­a­tion that looks af­ter that.”

Farrell than passed the floor over to Rob Warr, the town’s di­rec­tor of Re­cre­ation and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices.

Sched­ul­ing

Warr said a meet­ing was held Sept. 21 with all the ma­jor user groups in­clud­ing the Marystown Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion, the over 45 group, the Ice Crys­tals Fig­ure Skat­ing Club and the re­cre­ation hockey league to put to­gether a sched­ule that worked for ev­ery­one in­volved.

“That’s what had hap­pened that night,” said Warr. “Also dur­ing that night I asked for re­quests, con­cerns, is­sues any­thing they felt was an area of trou­ble there, any re­quests, if they would want any ex­tra ice time this year.”

Warr said he felt good about the meet­ing and that ev­ery­one had an op­por­tu­nity to have in­put into the times need.

“When I left that meet­ing I said, ‘Now the town will not be get­ting in­volved if there is any dis­cre­tion or if you want to change the time amongst your­selves then you do it amongst your­selves and the town won’t get in­volved. As long as you can work it amongst your­selves we’ll sup­port it.”

Is­sue

Warr ex­plained that on Oct. 27 he re­ceived an e-mail from the as­so­ci­a­tion ask­ing to meet with coun­cil con­cern­ing an is­sue over ice time.

“Mi­nor hockey had their times and they were look­ing for an ex­tra hour and what my job as head of the depart­ment is to find that hour, but not to on every­body’s cost,” he ex­plained.

Warr said he un­der­stand the con­cerns of par­ents but asks what is he sup­posed to do about them?

“Am I sup­posed to up­root an or­ga­ni­za­tion a group that has been there for all them years and show them a lack of re­spect and then take their hour away and give an ex­tra hour that an or­ga­ni­za­tion is look­ing for?” he said.

Warr added he has to con­sider the needs of all groups us­ing the arena.

“I cer­tainly don’t want the teenagers out at 10:30 or 11:30 at night, I ab­so­lutely don’t, but I do have to con­sider all user groups there and treat every­body equal and show re­spect for every­body,” he said.

Dis­cour­ag­ing

Dr. Lynn Power, the par­ent of a child in the mi­nor hockey pro­gram spoke with The South­ern Gazette fol­low­ing the meet­ing on Tues­day.

“I think it is very dis­cour­ag­ing and dis­ap­point­ing to see adults who are mak­ing kids stay out all hours in the night to play hockey,” she said.

“Over 45 (league) has three prime time ice ses­sion in our area, they skate Sun­day af­ter­noon, they skate 9 on Tues­day and they skate 9 on Thurs­days and what we’re told is that they refuse to budge. The midget aged kids, some of whom (are) still 14-years-old are out un­til 11:30-12 o’clock in the night.”

She added some of the play­ers travel from as far away as St. Lawrence and Ter­ranceville.

Power said in her po­si­tion as a fam­ily doc­tor and ER physi­cian, “We’re see­ing more and more men­tal health is­sues in chil­dren — we are see­ing more and more is­sues with headaches.”

She added in a re­cent re­lease from the Cana­dian Pe­di­atrics So­ci­ety that states chil­dren in the age group 13-18 are not get­ting enough sleep and it is af­fect­ing their health and well-be­ing.

“The other is­sue I guess with chil­dren is the rec­om­men­da­tion is an hour of phys­i­cal fit­ness ev­ery­day,” she ex­plained. “There are many kids who are pay­ing for two hours of mi­nor hockey and are only get­ting one , be­cause for me as a par­ent my son’s well be­ing and his ed­u­ca­tion is more im­por­tant than that hour of hockey, but that’s sad I’m pay­ing for him to have two hours and he’s not get­ting it.”

She said it can also have an im­pact on school work.

“In my son’s class there’s kids who have fallen asleep twice in class, they played hockey Thurs­day night, they went to school and they feel asleep in class the next day,” she said.

Power said her son at­tended once on a Thurs­day night, had a snack, a shower and it was 12:45 when he went to bed.

“I live 10 min­utes (from the) rink, what about the poor kid in Ter­renceville?”

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