This is a post I have been asked to put on site anonymously. I think it contains some sentiments we can agree with and some suggestions that are worthy of debate. And though many of the sentiments mirror mine, I did not write it.
Inline Hockey a sport I have come to know and love through playing and coaching. Gentleman as I write this I am in much disarray and soured to great length with the ways of our sport. We need to get back to the basics and show the sport we all love so much the love that it needs.
At the present time the tournament series are falling apart and having lower numbers day by day. House leagues are shrinking as the number of 8 and unders showing up in the sport is dwindling. Yet we as the adults and the leaders of the sport continue to fight over the greed and control. There is no true leader in the sport between USA Inline and AAU. They are fighting over being the insurance providers for rinks and tournaments like a money pit that will eventually dissolve. All hope of having them unite like we have wished over the years is just keeping them farther apart as they take turns sanctioning certain tournaments and leagues. The people who suffer from this are the players.
In the adult world of this sport there has been a line drawn in the sand recently with PIHA and the AIHL. Some want to have their say and tarnish peopleís reputations while others sit in the shadows waiting to show their alignment. As a group of dedicated players we all need to find a happy medium and just play hockey. Isnít that what we all want to do?
On the business side of things rinks are closing all the time and why because they can not grow any youth business. When you Google inline hockey the first website you find is IHC. If I were a parent looking in from the outside and clicked on the pro forum I would be disgusted with all the arguing and bickering. Not only does this not help us grow the sport but it actually turns potential players away as the parents do not want their children exposed to any negativity. There are enough problems in todayís society that we all need to grow up and work for the benefit of the sport.
Facilities need to find a way to get more new players into the game and keep them. Maybe it would be simple to discount the fee for the first season a child plays. Remember some business is better than none! Hopefully the big companies who are inline hockey suppliers will cut their profit margins to give the maximum benefit to the players. Remember, if you can sell 50 sticks for $200.00 you make $10,000.00 but if you cut your profit margin down and sell 100 sticks for $175.00 you make $17,500.00 plus you have doubled what you sold in your inventory. We all know that more product out there means more future sales due to the free advertisement.
All of us need to remember what Whitney Houston said, ďI believe the children are our future, teach them well, and let them lead the way.Ē
A list of simple solutions:
1. Adults stop bickering and let as many travel leagues exist. Eventually setup so that you can crossover for one ultimate champion.
2. Tournaments discount your team rates. You pay rinks bare bones money for the hours you use because you know they are going to be closed those weekends without you. Cut your profit margin and give back to the sport.
3. Facilities give away rink time to these young kids and offer discounts for the first season they play.
4. Hockey companies cut your profit margins and make our sport easily affordable
5. Youth, Youth, Youth.... I canít say it anymore
6. Stop all the greed and letís go do what we all do best: play hockey
These are just the thoughts of a little person in the world of inline hockey. I donít want to see it die but I fear it is the road we are heading towards.
A Friend to Inline Hockey