Re: the state of our sport address
Welcome to IHC. I hope you stir up a lot of debate. The sport needs it.
Even though I've personally bitched about them in the past, I now think that the various SUCCESSFUL inline hockey tournament series can't be blamed -- they saw a market, catered to it, and made a bundle.
However, why this sport's administrators/organizing bodies/governing bodies/manufacturers could not see that catering to the top of the pyramid would eventually kill the bottom of the pyramid -- after all the evidence of the past 10 years -- is inexcusable. It's just good BUSINESS sense to want to have the largest market possible.
This sport has shot itself in the foot for too long. The question is, is it too late to save it?
When will organizing bodies realize that they're killing the sport by not working together?
When will manufacturers realize that the only way to truly grow this sport is to bring more new players into it? What are they doing in that direction? I, for one, certainly don't see any large financial support for the grassroots by the major inline hockey manufacturers. I'll be gladly proved wrong -- I just don't see it.
I did see some positive signs this summer -- the largest NARCh tournament ever, the growth of State Wars, and the passion for the sport that I saw in the organizers and players at the NIHA-Canada National Championships, etc.
One man that I respect very much, Scott Hill, the manager of the Sportsplex facility in Langley, British Columbia, told me this past summer that he senses a potential inline hockey renaissance, partly because our sport is finally growing old enough to have parents who actually PLAYED the game, and who want to pass on their passion for the sport to their children. Scott also told me that "we've made so many mistakes; maybe we've made them all."
Maybe it's inline hockey's chance to grow again. I certainly hope so. But you certainly wouldn't know it by looking at the "leaders" of our great sport.
Which begs the question: Who ARE the leaders of our sport, and what are they doing to grow it?
Inline Hockey Central