Orleans Minor Hockey Competitive Director’s Report 2018 - 2019

This year was another successful season for the competitive side of Orleans Minor Hockey. Although this report focuses more on the Rep B Blues program, there were many players who made it to the A/AA and AAA levels, which shows how strong an organization we are.

As we concluded the 4th year of the integrated agreement between OMHA, GCMHA and BMHA for the Rep B program, things continue to go well between the 3 associations. The program has grown over time and adjustments continue to be made to the agreement so that the partnership remains solid for many years to come.

This past year we fielded 7 teams, from Minor Atom (09) to Minor Midget (03). The Major Novice division was dropped because of incoming changes to Novice hockey introduced by Hockey Canada for the 1920 season. Tryout numbers were strong at all the levels, with the Major Atom division continuing to attract the most number of players, with 27 this past September. At the Midget division, a change was made to registration costs to attract more interest, and, although numbers were better, that group of 03 players coming up had benefitted from strong numbers in the past and this was carried through again this year at the Minor Midget division, making it difficult to gauge the results. At the Major Midget division, a push was made to attract interest, however with the Rangers AA being low, many players were recruited which resulted in the Blues being unable to form a team. Further discussion will take place with the Blues Committee in order to improve interest at both Midget divisions. Overall, the breakdown of 118 players on the 7 teams was 52 from OMHA, 34 from BMHA, 28 from GCMHA and 4 imports. Changing demographics and more options for kids reflect the challenges of many hockey organizations going forward. As a Blues organization, we continue to emphasize the positives of playing competitive hockey in the GHA.

Minor Atom 7 3 7
Major Atom 8 6 2 1
Minor PW 9 5 3
Major PW 8 2 7
Minor Bantam 8 5 4
Major Bantam 6 4 3 3
Minor Midget 6 9 2
Totals 52 34 28 4

In terms of development, the Blues continue to place strong emphasis on investing in our players. This year saw the increased use of Apex Power Skating for our players on all teams, which creates a uniform development path as they move up each level. Goalie development was done on a team by team basis, which provided a more tailored approach for that position. In total, most teams invested approx. $2000 - $3000 in development and the Blues were pleased to refund a portion of that cost back to each team (approx. $800 - $1000). For the 1920 season, the Blues will continue to partner with Apex, along with exploring other development ideas, such as early pre-season skates in August, or dryland sessions with Titan. For coach development, the Blues continued to refund one per team resulting in additional money going back into team budgets.

In terms of organizational success, measurements can be done in many ways both off and on the ice. Off ice, we continue to generate exposure for the Blues brand. The 2nd annual Blues ‘Hockey’ Fest tournament was held again this year through Richcraft in late September, whereby 46 teams registered for 7 levels (Minor Atom to Minor Midget). All the levels were full and the tournament continues to grow as we prep for the 3rd one in Sept 2019. New formats will now have 4 game minimum which will enhance the appeal to out of town teams. The Blues also hosted a Development 1 Coaching clinic in September, which generated some funds back into our organization. A total of 34 coaches attended and plans are underway for next season already. As the Rep B program is a feeder level to the A/AA/AAA levels, the Blues had several players make the jump higher up this past season. This shows that our programs are making an impact and developing players as they work up the levels. On ice, there were successes throughout all divisions, with several winning a tournament, along with many finals and semi-finals appearances. In the playoff round, we had 3 teams make the A pool (Minor Peewee, Major Bantam, Minor Midget) and the remaining 4 in the B pool. In the A Pool, all 3 teams advanced to 2nd round, with 2 of them knocking out a higher seeded team to get there. At that point, however, all 3 were eliminated. On the B side pool, 3 of the 4 teams made it to the finals, with all 3 of them taking home the banner. Congrats to Minor Atom, Major Atom and Minor Bantam on their wins. In terms of challenges, there were some of those as well. Although parent and player surveys were generally positive, the Blues will continue to work on the processes, such as coach selection and player try out evaluations, to strengthen the program for the long run. Pairing up with the OMHA coach mentorship program is one suggestion provided as a tool to help the coaches throughout the season. This year also saw the retirement of long time non-parent coach Kevin Gallagher after many seasons with the Blues. We thank him for all his hard work and wish him the best!

Going forward, this year will bring 3 new members to the Blues Committee – 1 from OMHA and 2 from BMHA. The new perspectives will add to the partnership between the 3 associations. Joint tryouts at the Midget level are also in discussion with the GHA competitive group, however no formal proposals have been submitted. At the program level, coach selection is underway, along with ice requests for the fall tryout sessions. The plan is to field a team from Minor Atom to Major Midget.

In closing, I want to thank once again all the OMHA board members and volunteers who supported our organization for all their help. Without your assistance, we would not have gone as far as we did this year. Thank you!

Riccardo Panarella
Director Competitive
Orleans Minor Hockey