Members, Readers and Interested Parties:
While your attention during these times may be easily drawn to Elite / Pro and Collegiate segments and even to the thrills of NARCh Winternationals and other tournament series competing for participation and dollar$, there are those who would ask that you not forget about the basics and what segments have contributed significantly to the popularity you may enjoy today. Namely the scholastic segment (high school / middle school).
As the players who grow up in our sport age and mature, where else will they go but up to the adult levels, if they don't fall out all together. Peak birth years of '89-92 are no longer playing high school hockey. If they're still playing, they're now competing for available rink space with those younger years. And if a rink facility has worked hard enough to promote a decent grassroots program for new youth players, it's the scholastic segment that is again being pinched for attention and rink time.
It may be clear to some that attention to the Elite / Pro and Collegiate segments is the answer for growing our sport by providing a some path to the top of the so-called pyramid. Arguably, if no mid-level of scholastic hockey exists, then the pyramid eventually folds into itself and crashes to its base.
It is this observer's opinion that the experiment started by Richard Graham, Publisher/Owner of Inline Hockey Central beginning in his March 4 2005 post SOPHOMORE SAVIORS? Can the growth of high school inline hockey save our sport? is worthy of your (re)read from front-to-back.
Many have forgotten the value of the scholastic segment's contribution to the reinvigoration and longeveity of the sport. Will you?