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PostPosted: July 14th, 2017, 7:47 am 
Walk On
Walk On

Joined: May 17th, 2011, 6:16 am
Posts: 16
I have started to question the direction that South Dakota Hockey is taking (as many have seen by my posts) but this coming year has really got my cockles up. Here are just a few of the concerns I have.

The change to birth year classification.
Can someone tell me how this will help South Dakota Hockey? The only thing this will do is put us further behind Minnesota and North Dakota. After all we are already playing against mostly Seniors on there Jr. Gold teams already. And if anyone says it will help the National teams that's BS. I also see numerous kids getting hurt since many will be going from one year at Bantam to now playing Varsity. The skill level and speed from Bantam to Varsity is phenomenal. The real question is why wasn't this implemented say starting with the Squirts on down this year and let that group move thru with the birth year classification. For those Associations that think this is the cats meow, you could have been doing the age classification for your association your years. You chose not to because you all know it would have put you further behind those Associations that chose not to. So, those Associations that can't manage to compete at the previous level now want to bring everyone down to their level. Let's just give everyone participation ribbons so nobody has to do any hard work. Hard Work Wins Championships!!!

State Tournament in Pierre.
Welcome to the center of No-Where South Dakota. Poor seating, poor viewing angles, poor glass, poor concessions, poor entrance and exit access, poor ice when the temps are warm (which is a good possibility at State Tourn. time). Not enough quality hotels at that time of the Season. TV or Web Streaming options will be very limited. Will have small crowds since everyone will be traveling greater distances. All around a lose - lose for all Associations. On the plus side you can visit Capital pond or go fishing on the river.

Four Officials on the Ice.
Obviously our Officials can't grasp the concept of a two referee and one linesman system like Minnesota or North Dakota. They say USA Hockey won't allow it. Well that's BS because Minnesota and North Dakota both do it at the Jr. Gold Level and down. The 4th official is always in the way and our officials don't skate and move good enough to be in the right position. Not to mention the fact that we do not have enough quality officials thru-out the state that call the game as it should be called. Every year the Officials complain about parents, players and coaches disrespecting them. This couldn't have anything to do with the fact that none of the officials call or see penalties the same way from game to game. Not to mention from one side of the state to the other. This just goes to speak about the poor leadership in the referee in chief. Especially when he is on the other end of the state from the majoring of associations in the state. Officiating is one of the main reasons that SD Hockey is heading in the wrong direction. We need Doug Sorenson back badly.

Sioux Falls now allowed to only have one Boys Varsity team.
Ok I have mixed feeling here. First off, why? The biggest city in the state can't field two varsity teams? There must be other issues involved here. Secondly, Sioux Falls might finally be competitive again??? Providing they can find some decent coaching and not lose all their players to AAA hockey teams. But in reality I think it comes down to the lack of leadership and direction of the Sioux Falls Hockey Association. This is one I can speak of first hand since this is my association. We do great at recruiting at the younger levels but do little to retain kids. It becomes more of a financial commitment at the upper levels thus forcing many to quit. SF Hockey has become a rich mans sport in the eyes of many around the community.

The fact that the State wants associations to split teams equally when they have more than one team.
You tell me in which sport do teams split equally and compete for a championship? This is ridiculous and the state needs to look at other ways for Associations to retain kids and put the best team on the ice at all times. I don't care if some Associations can't compete. Those associations need to look inward and find better teaching, coaching and skill development that will allow them to compete. Quit complaining and start doing. Brookings is a prime example (everyone hates them) of a small association. I believe there numbers are around 240 kids each year but yet they are competing at almost every age level for a championship every year. I wish I knew how or what they are doing. The State needs to quit trying to bring everyone down to the lowest level of play to make it fair for all and start helping those associations that need the help develop a strong program. There is no help from the State level at development and recruitment yet they want to tell everyone how things should be.

Leadership at State and Association levels.
Can anyone tell me who is on the state board without going to the website to find out? When is the last time the State board has helped with recruitment and development? And don't say the Nation teams. That is nothing but parents trying to find a better avenue to showcase their kids. Let's face it there is no leadership at the State level. You never see board members going to games and talking to parents and players about how they can make the game better. They are just appointed by people to serve those peoples interests. SD Board members need to get of their butts and really work at improving SD Hockey. Lets' see a vision or a plan a year in advance instead of a couple of weeks before the state board meetings. Post some things on your state website that all parents and players need to know. Get in touch with your base!!! Local associations need to inform their parents and players better and not just think that board meetings are just for board members. Think outside the box and press the State to be more involved.

National Teams/Tournament.
I'll keep this short and sweet. Completely wrong for the development of SD Hockey and only serves those that are trying to get their kids to the next level of play.

States lack of policy on AAA teams and players.
The State needs to take a hard look at Minnesota's policy on players leaving to play on AAA hockey teams. I am all for the development of players but I am also for the retention of players to grow SD Hockey. I have seen teams decimated in the last couple of years by numerous and sometimes only one player leaving to go play AAA only to see those players return the following year. And in most cases those players did not get better while they were playing AAA. I blame many of these players leaving on two things. First, the National Teams. Secondly, the State Board. Many of these kids are leaving and playing for AAA teams and paying anywhere from $15,000 up to $25,000 a season. The owners of these AAA teams are in the business to make money. Your kid is a pay check to them! Many of these same players parents have complained about coaching or the cost of playing at their local associations but are willing to fork out tons of money to someone they know nothing about. This is where the state needs to come up with a policy or something to inform or educate players and parents about the pit falls of AAA Hockey. There is an old phase in the hockey industry and it goes like this. If you are good enough you can play anywhere for free! Now back to the National Team complaint. This only gives kids this false sense that they are good enough to move to the next level. In reality the teams they are playing are for the most part the 2nd's or 3rd's that didn't make the top teams and are looking for ways to improve to make that top team. This is what the National Team staff does not tell you. Trust me they are doing this to get their kids more exposure plain and simple.

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