Great comentary and insight on the Let's Play Hockey International Expo -- it really makes one wonder about just who's leading the way in and for our sport, doesn't it? These companies all want increased (and ever-increasing) market share and customers (in a decreasing market scenario), and yet most of them do very little to support the healthy growth and marketing of the game.
Also, your own personal take, memories and reflections from earlier such industry trade fairs and meetings were very enlightening about the arrogant disregard and disrespect that far too many of these industry people and companies exhibit towards those people and forums whose well-positioned butts they should be kissin' if they had any idea of how to properly market the game and attract that desired (and ever-increasing) base of new and repeat customers ("well-positioned" people and forums like you and your's, Richard) that could fill-out more of their corporate coffers and bottom-lines (pun intended).
I think that we're all going to have to realize, folks, that it's going to come down to the actual down-&-dirty-grass-roots of local inline teams, players and organizations to actually turn around the downward momentum that the sport has clearly been in over the last few years. The so-called NGB's can't and won't and in fact haven't done anything (not centered around selfishly self-serving politics) to help stave off disaster for the sport -- in fact, if anything, through their thoroughly inept (and corrupt?) version of control, sanctioning and stewardship they've recklessly and severely hastened its demise. If I were to give any advice, it'd be to break away from virtually all existing NGB's (and their carpet-bagging of your advertising and/or sponsorship monies) and form a 'loosely-confederated' alliance, if you will, of the real movers, shakers and do-ers of our sport in order to take back effective control and stewardship of the game (and all its attendant possibilities and destiny) from the present NGB's who are (in my opinion) only there to collect whatever 'tolls' they can extract and/or extort from the actual players of the game.
Once this "taking-back" of control was effectively done, I think you'd all see how much more could (and would) be accomplished and moved forward in our sport, as even Olympic participation and a truly "paid-to-play" professional league would be much closer under 'direct' grass-roots control and stewardship of the game than the sorry state of where it presently wallows under the totally inept control and stewardship of USARS and/or USA Hockey-InLine.
I don't really know why your "WRAPPIN' UP" feature inspired these 'anti-establishment', rout-em-out 'revolutionary' type thoughts, but it did for whatever reason. I think that maybe having you reflect upon everything (and in very interesting context, BTW) basically as a concerned neutral observer drove home the point that without someone like you actually there in Las Vegas (a vigilant and inquisitive "press" presence, if you will) we'd all know very little, if not absolutely nothing, about where our sport's headed on any level...
Good work, Richard!
Last edited by ACCCT2; 02-18-2008 at 02:14 PM.
VERY interesting commentary on this trade event, views of the past industry events and a look into the future via a portending trade association. Also interesting, to me at least, was the AAU support of IHC and the resulting scholastic program content.
While I am not quite the rebel as ACCCT2 in wanting to take back control from the NGB's (even though the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, revised in 1998 by sponsor Ted Stevens (section 220510 of the United States Code), does empower the US Olympic Committee to provide for national governing bodies (NGB) for each Olympic sport and USARS is the official NGB for our sport and, thus, eliminates any other organization), I do agree in principle with his spirit.
Further, your article wraps up something of a concensus well-stated by a quote from AAU's Keith Noll himself that relates to this theme... “There has been so much fragmentation in the sport. It doesn’t matter whether it’s USA Roller Sports or USAHIL fighting with each other… it goes all the way through the sport – manufacturers can’t even agree which show to attend. Now you’re seeing that the Let’s Play Hockey is the best show, no doubt about it, it’s the place to be. People understand – support one major group in all this stuff and you’re going to be better off in helping the sport get there. You can’t just keep fighting with each other.”
– Keith Noll, Amateur Athletic Union
With so many privateers and varied interests, I agree with Mr. Noll that fragmentation tears away at the very soul of this sport.
As I have an interest in the scholastic programs (high school, youth programs, etc.), I chronicled more on Wrappin' Up in the High School thread in this forum:
Like my fellow forum contributor, I, too, thank you Richard for bringing your views and commentary to light in this thought provoking coverage of the Let's Play Hockey International Expo. Good Job!
I agree 100% with "zipyaj" about Keith Noll of the AAU -- (ironically?) he's just the kind of sport-first "fighter" the game absolutely has to have if it's going to go anywhere. I've had numerous conversations with him about many things concerning the sport and its health, problems and direction and I'm happy to say that at least he "gets it" about what needs to be (and should be) done to fix things and turn momentum positively around...
Last edited by ACCCT2; 02-18-2008 at 11:59 AM.