Outlaw Leagues, News (Woolwich Minor Hockey)

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Outlaw Leagues
Submitted By Brett Bickerton on Tuesday, September 4, 2018
WMHA is presenting the information on outlaw leagues for you to review and make aware of possible sanctions if you chose to participate in said leagues. Please take a moment and review the information.

In May 2009, Hockey Canada issued action bulletin number A0945, the subject of which was “Outlaw Leagues – Leagues Operating Outside of the Auspices of Hockey Canada”.  In October 2015, the Ontario Minor Hockey Association issued a memorandum, the subject of which was “Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Ice Hockey and Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League (MAYHL)”. The ORHL is affiliated with the AAU, which is US-based.

The following are some excerpts of Hockey Canada’s bulletin:

“Hockey Canada offers the best development programs worldwide. It has invested significant resources in the development of officials, coaches, administrators and players countrywide. We have a committed strategy toward a cohesive long-term athlete development model.

These “outlaw” organizations do not support the development of these programs. Further, they operate in a vacuum, with no consideration to the impact of their programs on minor, junior, senior, adult recreational hockey, female hockey, officiating development, coaching development or administrator development in Canada. These “outlaw” leagues instead choose to utilize the resources already developed by Hockey Canada and its member Branches. The teams that make up these “leagues” operate in this fashion because they do not agree with the existing overall vision of Hockey Canada. They profess to have a better program yet often operate without a constitution, by-laws, create their own rule book and may not provide adequate insurance for their participants. Further, they offer the lure of “Rep” or “Junior” level competition when this is clearly not the case.

Hockey Canada, its member Branches, Major Junior Leagues as well as registered Junior Hockey Leagues wish to be exceedingly clear with our response to these programs.

Sanctions

1) Any individual who participates (knowingly or otherwise) in “outlaw” programs after September 30 of the season in question (“the Cut-Off Date”) will lose all membership privileges with Hockey Canada for the remainder of that season and may only reapply for membership with Hockey Canada after the end of that season.  If a participant makes the choice to participate in these “outlaw” programs, they must understand the ramifications of that choice and that the sanctions described in this paragraph will remain in effect even if the league or team folds, or the individual is released, suspended or fired.

2) Hockey Canada and its member Branches across the country will make every effort to ensure that local minor hockey and female hockey associations in areas where “outlaw” leagues exist are not supporting these leagues in any manner whatsoever. For greater certainty, “supporting” includes, but is not limited to, assisting an “outlaw” league directly or indirectly through advertisement, promotion, ticket sales, volunteer activities, assigning Officials, sharing resources or enabling such a league to participate in Hockey Canada sanctioned activities. We will withhold tournament sanctions and will preclude such associations from benefitting from any Hockey Canada/Branch/CHL sanctioned event by whatever means necessary, including the withdrawal of any such event from any community within the geographic boundaries of that association if need be to stress this point.

This policy is aimed at those leagues that choose to operate outside the hockey structure established by Hockey Canada, its member Branches and the Canadian Hockey League.”

The following are some excerpts of the OMHA’s memorandum:

“…Hockey Canada’s focus is on the investment of significant resources in the development of players, officials, coaches and administrators country-wide. In addition, Hockey Canada clearly states its opposition to these outlaw leagues and imposes appropriate sanctions for any individual or Association who (knowingly or unknowingly) participates in or allows participation of these outside leagues in any Hockey Canada/Branch/CHL sanctioned tournament or event.

Individuals and Associations must note that each of these organizations, as well as their cross-border alliance, operate outside of the auspices of both Hockey Canada and Hockey USA.

Recently, the Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League (MAYHL), a member of the AAU, has been active in promoting its teams and making application to participate in OMHA sanctioned tournaments.

All Centres must take caution, as a tournament host, that they do not accept entry applications from any team associated with the AAU or MAYHL. In addition, OMHA teams may not participate in tournaments hosted by the AAU or any of its member branches. Please be fully aware that these organizations and leagues are not recognized by Hockey Canada or Hockey USA.”

Woolwich Minor Hockey Association (WMHA) is a not-for-profit minor hockey association and it is one of approximately two hundred and fifty active member minor hockey associations of the OMHA, which was founded in 1935. Over the years, we have seen these type of outlaw organizations and leagues come and go. We encourage anyone who is considering participating in them to ask the following questions, among others:

Cost – Each WMHA player’s team registration fee for the 2018-19 season is posted on our website.   Fees are payable regardless of whether the player’s parent is a coach, manager, trainer or executive member. We do not offer discounts, other than to families registering three (3) or more children. We operate on a not-for-profit basis.

 

Competition – The league (Tri-County) that WMHA participates in operate under the auspices of Hockey Canada and the OMHA.  In fact, the vast majority of minor hockey players in Canada play under the Hockey Canada umbrella. As indicated in Hockey Canada’s bulletin, the teams who make up outlaw leagues operate as they do because they do not agree with the existing overall vision of Hockey Canada that comprise the vast minority of hockey players in Canada. They cannot participate in any Hockey Canada/Branch/CHL sanctioned tournament or event, including exhibition, league, tournament and playoff games, and are subject to sanctions when they return to the Hockey Canada fold.

 

Game and practice times and locations – Minor hockey associations that operate under the auspices of Hockey Canada, as they are their local municipalities’ largest consumers of ice time, often get priority when it comes to game and practice times and locations. Outlaw organizations and leagues are often left with less than ideal times and locations.

Coach, manager and trainer certifications – All of our coaches, managers and trainers are certified and approved by Hockey Canada. Vulnerable Sector Checks as well as respect in sport training is required for all bench staff and volunteers working directly with our players.

Insurance – Hockey Canada has a proven, reliable insurance system from which our players benefit.

Any players, coaches, trainers and other volunteers who wish to return to WMHA after the Sept 30th deadline will need to make their request in writing to the WMHA President.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns with respect to the above, please do not hesitate to contact either the WMHA President or the VP of Representative Hockey.

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