View Full Version : USAHIL Announcement
08-30-2004, 10:24 PM
There's a new story on the IHC Home Page about USA Hockey InLine's new cooperative effort with SIHA and RC Sports. Check it out if you get a chance. Thank you.
Inline Hockey Central
08-31-2004, 08:19 AM
What they are doing is what we skated under with USARS years ago. You had to be attached to a rink and that rink held your card for a year, which meant you couldn't skate in any of their tournaments or regionals with another team or your card would be suspended. At least it might stop the picking up players from other areas at the last minute for the national event. It seems to work at the recreational level best. The rinks in our area acted like you took away their birthdays if you wanted to skate with another rink's team, like the rinks were in competition, not the teams. If you won they took the glory but did little to help finance a travel team. If USAHIL offers weekend warrior passes then it won't be a problem for older skaters but if it doesn't I can't see it doing very well.
08-31-2004, 08:44 PM
If USA Hockey Inline partners with a program that increases opportunities for participation and success by players everywhere, then that would be good for the development of the sport?
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
I agree wholeheartedly, and look at this as an effort to regrow the grassroots level of inline hockey, along with an attempt to develop league play....two things absolutely necessary to the short and long term growth of the sport.
09-01-2004, 08:05 AM
But like I said it was what we were under in the early 90's so where is it now? Rec hockey makes the money for a rink. Travel hockey does not so of course the rec hockey is what rinks will want to support. Most of the "Family skating rinks" are in financial trouble right now and I think this is a way of keeping them going not just supporting the sport of hockey. Where are the "grassroots" playing now? Most smaller rinks don't want to be bothered. Just my thoughts and the picture of my local area.
I think the small rinks which once served as "feeder" venues to the dedicated inline rinks, pretty much fell off the map because their kids had no where to truly compete with the elite inline powerhouse teams who came from the dedicated inline facilities which grew up in the late 90's.
Having in-house or interclub league play at the roller rink levels may once again create a wider player base for the sport....getting kids exposed to the game on a "fun" and less expensive level.
One of the reasons that the roller rink programs gave up the sport was that participation dropped off when the local travel teams were "mercied" at almost every tournament. With the existing tournament series, the local kids and parents from the roller rinks saw nowhere for their kids to grow within the sport, and so turned away to other things.
If this new effort can provide a more balanced local interclub as well as intraclub level of competition, then I think some of these rinks may well start up a program again. The evolution of the travel teams required much more rink time for practice for these teams, and so saw a much lower return for floor time(fewer participants on the floor for longer periods of time...and who didn't want to pay elevated prices per capita for the rink time)...than having a series of short in-house games, or interclub games.
I also think USA Hockey is offering a coaching/training program to help these clubs teach the sport in a more efficient fashion than previously...another important element that was sorely lacking at the "disco rink" level.
09-01-2004, 09:18 AM
I think JO hockey is still available. That's where you only compete against teams that the players have 3 years or less experience and not just locally but at a national level. My point is if it is still there why do we need, yet again, another one doing the same thing? What makes their program different than the one that already exists? If it does help the growth of the sport then I hope all the best for them. Anyplace the kids can play indoors is a benefit.
09-01-2004, 01:33 PM
Did anybody take into consideration that Ingram is RC sports? Is this just another money making avenue for him?
Being a former rink operator and having many friends that own rinks the main concern with hockey programs is....when kids get talented and older the rink takes a beating. Lights get broken, walls with holes, players half naked when 6 year old little girls come for their birthday party! It becomes more of a hassle than a profit.
If we have AAU/USRS that are controlled by our U.S. government why does USA iline hockey insist on dividing this sport? If this program didn't work in the 90s why would it work now???? Maybe the intentions are good, but it sounds like $$$$$$ to me.
09-01-2004, 06:44 PM
Okay, here we go...
USA Roller Sports (USARS, previously USACR/S) got into the inline hockey business considerably after USA Hockey took over the National Inline Hockey Association (NIHA). USARS, two years ago, quit operating their inline hockey program.
AAU, in an effort to expand its power and membership base, chose to expand into inline hockey as a new sport for its program set, and took over the USARS program, but still operates under their name, ostensibly so they can have the automatic in to the Feredation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS)...
Not that the above is relevant to anything...but...the fact is, USA Hockey Inline has been steadily improving the sport for every player in the entire country for over eleven years. AAU is still in the johnny-come-lately ranks and is about five years behind USAHIL in most of the opportunties they provide...most, not all, AAU has done some quality things as well, especially in the last twelve months...
Presently, we need the things that both organizations can provide, both are doing good for the sport.
Please don't fall into the trap of thinking that one of these organizations is better than the other, unless you publish your criteria for making such judgement.
"controlled by the government(?)" is the criteria you gave us...USAHIL is a division of USA Hockey, member of the International Inline Hockey Federation (IIHF), and has representation on both the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)...how much regulation and/or affiliation do you want?
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
09-01-2004, 10:38 PM
Nobody is saying one organization is better than the other. I certainly am not asking for more government regulation. My point is that this sport is being pulled in so many directions. AAU/USRS is the NGB. No ifs ands or buts.
Yes I understand that USA inline is a subsidiary of USA hockey. It is just that. Will the senate and congress allocate $ to USA hockey for inline? No. Will they for AAU? Yes.
I just don't know why this sport is not united under one NGB. Why are there so many FORCES joining together to go different directions? This is something that should have been done through AAU. (in my opinion). Just what exactly does USA hockey have to do with inline?
I just do not understand why this sport has several world teams and several national championships? The NFL doesn't have 5 super bowls. What other respected sports does this?
Besides, my question was Ingram making $$$$$$ He is RC Sports. I'm curious to see if these kids are required to play his tournament series too?
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting tired of paying insurance and membership fees to all these organizations!
09-02-2004, 08:13 AM
And if the point at the beginning of this line of posts was to get local rinks to form local leagues between themselves to continue the grassroots level of inline hockey then tell me how an organization in Nebraska or Colorado will do this for Georgia? It's really up to the local "elite" players to continue it. Seems like they have the right idea in Jersey and PA by getting the players to run the programs and playing the rinks together in local leagues. This is why I think the XIHL, etc. need to expand. The younger kids see the upper level players more than 1 time and locally, not just at national tournaments. Then when a player starts a program at the local rink the people already know who they are. Thanks for explaining, Danny. Now I know why the local rinks that support figure skating no longer have big hockey programs.
09-03-2004, 06:34 PM
going out on a limb here,
but first...I find Targetmom's viewpoint to be thoughtful and intelligent, and the question a legitimate one. Her frustration along the lines of "Why can't there be a single, unified force guiding, directing, and developing the sport for the betterment of all?" is a good one...a frustration that we all share...
To answer the question, you must determine how you are going to evaluate who should be the NGB...you can see elsewhere in this message board some lengthy discussions on that topic...
How is it that you think the US Government is the entity that has "recognized" USARS, and by association, AAU as this sport's NGB? There has been no such action. Uh, I don't think that any government money accrues to AAU, USARS, or USA Hockey...none...zippo...that's the whole thing about sports within the Olympic purview in this country: the government doesn't contribute a dime. What makes you think that any of these organizations gets government money???
AAU will quote you the act of Congress that has designated USARS as the NGB for "roller sports." USARS can point toward an official appointment as the organization responsible for sending a Team USA to the Pan Am Games and the World Games...this was done because FIRS was the international governing body for these events. To date, the Olympics has not happened..."short stick" roller hockey as the exhibition sport in the 70's/80's doesn't count, and everybody knows it...
So, while we might acknowledge that USARS has been designated as the organizing body for national and international events that come under the Federation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) banner/jurisdiction, this does not belie the providence of USA Hockey Inline as the group responsive to all national and international events under the International Inline Hockey Federation (IIHF) jusrisdiction... further, we note that the IIHF is a division of the International Ice Hockey Federation, which is the governing body for the olympic hockey program, and USA Hockey is, of course, the organization that does that for our country.
The point of all the above is "NGB of what?"
USARS (with AAU as the current franchise holder) is responsible for FIRS events. USA Hockey Inline is responsible for IIHF events.
We note that both USARS and USA Hockey have membership on the USOC, and that USA Hockey has membership on the IOC.
So. if your concern is that two organizations are both trying to run things, you're right. Since both international organizations are going to continue to develop each a different set of activities on the national and international level, each person is going to have to choose which set of stuff suits their needs better, or join/support both of them.
I assure you that neither AAU nor USAHIL is going to go away, quit, or one be absorbed by the other. Get used to their both being around.
You might pay close attention, however, to the actual work, development, organization, and service provided by each. I offer Targetmom my opinion in return for hers that -at the moment- USA Hockey Inline has (hands down, no comparison) more opportunities, better opportunities, and is making decisions that are positive for everyone in the sport, not just a select few.
I welcome further discussion...
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
09-03-2004, 07:15 PM
Educate us. What you have to say makes sense. Thank you for the kind words. I really want to see this sport go in the right direction.
I have an 86 goalie. He's been basically "shafted" do to age changes and team jumping. This year was especially difficult. He had several teams to play on and they folded. Mostly because a few boys on each team made a Jr. World team of some type. That, and players running for the "bling bling"!
I heard what AAU is planning and was impressed. It's a big plate for them, but I think they can do it with time and help. I haven't heard the plans of USA inline. If you know please tell us. I would like to make an fair decision. As of now we play both. In Colorado that's not hard to do. I would like to see it better organized with the two organizations. Just to avoid some of the issues I mentioned earlier. There are a lot of great players out there and don't know where to go and what to do. It's ripping several teams apart and older kids are quitting. I personally would like to see some direction.
09-03-2004, 09:58 PM
Okay, this is only my opinion alone, but it is based on experience at both the regional and national tournament level since 1997:
It is my perspective that what your son has experienced is one manifestation of the difference between AAU and USA Hockey Inline, although their are other causes of the problem as well..
To start, AAU registers "clubs," that is groups of players. The "club:" could be a single team, a program with a team in each age division, or a league at a rink. The registration group is therefore fairly amorphic, and is prone to "pyramidism." As time goes on, the "better" players leave a base program to form "super-teams." Most of these teams are in for the short-term fix: when they don't win all the time, they disband. And the kids that don't get picked for the super teams fall by the wayside, get the picture that they are not good enough, quit and leave the sport. AAU places no demand on how a club must be responsible to it's players, this is totally left up to the club...
Contrast this to USAHIL; USA Hockey Inline sanctions leagues...period. It's regional tournaments and double-division national tournament are only open teams representing these leagues. Intrinsic in this is that the team representing the league must have all its players play regularly in the league. This creates an atmosphere (modeled after Little League Baseball) that each player in the league has worth, and a shot at playing in one (or more) of the tournament teams that the League supports. It also does not take anything away from the league, just to form the tournament teams. This helps the average league grow and develop, more kids keep playing, rather than drop out.
This is why the majority of groups in Colorado have chosen to bolt to AAU, because this format allows the "clubs" to make their teams however they want, along with the constantly changing team loyalties, broken promises, and abrogated commitments, eh?
This past season , I coached five teams at the USAHIL Regionals and five teams at the USAHIL nationals. Two of these were actual competitive teams, with intermediate/advanced players striving to move their play up to the next level. All these players played with and against each other in the various divisions of our house, recreation league. In most cases, our tournament teams were not highly competitive, but, they all got to play at a legitimate regional and national level. They even won a few games here and there. They had some successes. USA Hockey Inline in effect had three divisions at their nationals: the Open Division, for pyramid, get your best guys from anywhere you can; the Stars Division, for first/second place regional teams, and the Stripes Division, for any team that played in a regional...with the exception of our Girls' 17's team, all our teams played in the Stripes Division (our Girls played in an open, single division format, and came in second in the country, losing the championship game to the Cincinnati Eagles).
AAU has tried to emulate this structure, with three "levels" of play as well: its Elite, Competitive, and Recreation Divisions of play at this years nationals. While we're at it, NARCh also has its Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels of national tournament play...
Both the NARCh and the AAU set-ups have one thing missing...these levels of qualification are not based on the make-up of teams, but on an arithmetic formula based on regional performances. This pays no attention, for example, to the fact that my Polar Bears teams were largely made up of the left-over kids, after the Hawks got to pick from any kid in the league that they wanted. Polar Bears teams (in the "third-level," Stripes Divisions,) won several games at the nationals...no championships, but we had a couple of all-tournament players, and three team awards to show for it...and we were playing in a division with and against teams much like ourselves. We weren't able to compete vs, teams from really big programs, but so what? We had successes...Contrast this to our Hawk team brethren (the other tournament team set from our league) who chose to play at AAU...first off, only two of the four Hawks teams even could get all their players together to go, after poor showings at the AAU regional Level.(sound familiar?) These teams also used players that do not play in our league, but were deemed "great players" that would make the team better...the two teams that did go did not win a single game.
The whole point to all the above is that the initial approach of AAU is just to get more teams and players registered with them, to expand their membership base. They will take anybody from anywhere.
USAHIL, on the other hand, demands that every player and team go through the league sanction process. This process is not complicated, and is free for the league. Each player pays a memebrship fee, and gets various annual benefits from this. Much like Little League, which "leveled its playing field" with its league organizational structure some years ago, my teams go into a tournament situation fully cognizant that they are playing on that level field thing...
This is only a single example of how USA Hockey Inline has set up an organizational program set that is designed to make things better for everyone. It is also a contrast to what you have heard me refer to as the "only for a select few" type of organization program set...
In the long run, the USAHIL registration and tournament format is good for everyone in the sport, the AAU, NARCh, and others, format is not, and is actually harmful to the sport...any of them, especially AAU as a non-profit organization, can change their emphasis, but I have not seen that this will be the case.
I apologize that this is a long tirade, but the fact is, there are fundamental differences between the ways that AAU and USAHIL are making decisions that affect our sport and it's future. I am not trying to say right and wrong, but I definitely continue to see that USAHIL is making these decisions better than anyone else.
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
09-04-2004, 01:50 AM
ya know what? One other thing...In nine years as a league director, I made one single program decision seven years ago that made our league able to:
1. be a league where a brand new player could join and have legitimate personal success right away. any new player of any skill level could do well and feel good about himself.
2. provide a developmental base where any player who wanted to put in the time and effort could steadily move themselves up through the skill levels from novice to intermediate to advanced to elite.
3. challenge even the elite player with a game environment that was both challenging and enjoyable.
This decision was to establish the operational regulation that all players sign up for the league as individuals, nobody signs up as a team. We have nine divisions of play: all five youth age divisions, and four teen/adult divisions, divided with various skill/experience level parameters.
We re-make the teams anew every season. Some divisions set up teams with a set of talent pools and lottery, some with a draft, some with a combination of the two. Each process produces teams that start out very even, and every player gets to contribute actively to his or her team's success. In the season just completed, of 44 teams, for only the third time in nine years did we have an undefeated champion team in a division. Every team won at least two games during the season. All players had some successes.
In our summer season, completed last week, I played in three divisions. My Wednesday night team lost in an overtime playoff game. My Friday night team came in last (6th) place in the regular season, ran through the playoffs, and lost in the championship game by one goal in regulation. My Sunday afternoon team had Jimmy on it. This team had a couple of losses in regular season, but Jimmy doesn't lose in the playoffs. We won the Mike Harris Cup Game as division champs by 9 goals. My experience with these three teams this season is very typical of any player in our league...some ups, some downs, and we now look forward to the renewed excitement of the next season. In fact, I set up the adult division teams tomorrow...
This set up has produced:
Five USAHIL regional runners-up or champions.
Three silver medalist teams in USAHIL national championships.
Eleven USAHIL all-tournament team selections.
USAHIL awards a single (one!) National Team Sportsmanship award in each division each year. Our teams have now won eight (8!) of these.
One of the premier girls' programs in the country.
We have had three players selected to play in the Junior National team festival.
Our 18-22 year olds, the first generation of El Paso Roller Hockey players since the age of 9-11 years old, last year came in third in the country (out of a 32 team field) at the (adult) USAHIL Cup National Championships.
while we have indeed produced players and teams that we feel are as good as any in the country, the contrast is that what we play in our local league is strictly recreation, for-fun hockey! All these tournament teams form separately from the league. We demand that all tournament teams have players only that play in our league. We point out that this is the way to develop legitimate skills, team tactical talent, and also to instill character traits such as dedication, loyalty, sportsmanship, work-ethic, and commitment. We do have teams that employ the services of players outside the league, and we are constantly pointing out to them that this has produced only failure on their part. So far, this has continued to be the case.
I really recommend to anyone who would like to take the reins of Program or League Director, that this way, described above, to operate your league registration and team formation process, is the way to go.
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
09-04-2004, 02:06 PM
We lived in Las Vegas for a few years, and that's pretty much how they ran the leagues there. Something my son misses very much is the competitive leagues.
In fact after the first 2-3 games if one team seemed a little "stacked" Dave would rearrange them to be more even. He would place a Tour Rebel and a Titan on every team along with new players. There was never a bad game to play. Even the H.S. league was good. We haven't found a league worth playing out here, but when you have a tournament every weekend why would anyone play league?
Yes, I disagree with that theory. I believe the league strengthens the player. We used to play 3-4 league games a week, 2 travel team practices, and 1 league and 1 H.S. practice. That's a lot of good hockey! That doesn't happen in CO. It's a disappointment.
He just hooks up and plays with a team every weekend. He's played on some "super" teams and won't due it anymore. He's also played on sponsored teams that changed up their players so much that he didn't even know half their names.
Thanks for the info Danny G. I was not aware. Maybe these organizations should publish articles for ther general public. Then we can make our decisions and the majority can rule.
09-07-2004, 11:24 AM
I would like to invite anyone with accurate information from AAU to contribute to this conversation. It would be nice to hear both sides.
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