For the last week I have been thinking over and over in my head about this concept of "Unity in Our Sport" and what it really means. For many these days it seems that the focus of our sport in truly "unifying" it has become nothing more than insurance. It has become and AAU vs USAHIL debate in the past now RHA has become part of that argument. But should insurance justify unity?
My car is insured by Geico and my home owners insurance is through State Farm, does that make me not unified as a person? No the fact is one of these companies offered me something more beneficial to me in one regard and the other did with the other. You see I made these individual choices based upon what was best for me and my situation. Are rinks or is our sport much different?
I live on Long Island and there are 3 major rinks in the area, one of them Skate Safe America is insured by AAU, it is a great facility and I am close friends with the owners and it is also the home rink for the travel club I run, the Mission Snipers. Next there is Sportime, a rink that is close to my home that I play out of twice a week, it is privately insured. Lastly is Rapid Fire Arena, a rink I used to work at which is now operated by some of my closest friends, it to is privately insured and possibly may be by RHA in the future. But the main point is, they all made a choice as to what is best for their own personal business. Who are we to judge what they decide to do? But what can make them all UNIFIED is if they speak to one another, communicate about organizing events together, supporting one another and helping each other out when one needs it (example : an extra referee, a team contact, or a recommendation for a new flooring system). That is where true unity lies!
So when it comes to hockey tournaments or National events, does it really matter who is insured by who? Should that be a factor if you will support something? Heck if it is a good event, is positive for the sport and gets kids and families playing and excited, shouldn't we all support it?
I mentioned a couple of days ago that for 2 years I tried to get AAU and USAHIL to co sanction State Wars. I thought it would be great for all of the parents to not have to buy one insurance if they already owned the other. Both sides said it couldn't (or wouldn't) be done. Who lost out? Just the parent who had to buy another insurance.
If you go to my website and scroll to the bottom, you will see a big list of sponsors and supporters with their weblinks. I have tried hard to cross promote ANYONE who wants to work with us in the sport, regardless of who they are affiliated with. If people out there who SAY they truly want what is best for the sport and want to UNITE it, then they should contact me and get their logo on my site and get ours on theirs, that's a start. It shouldn't matter what insurance I use or you use etc.. Again that is an independent decision for what makes most sense for our business.
If all of the tourneys out there talked and discussed things like dates and locations and FINALLY had no overlap where KIDS would have to make a choice of one or the other, to me that would be the kind of UNITY I want to be a part of. To all have the same insurance but to secretly behind closed doors dislike one another or not communicate with one another, is not unity. That would be fluff.
As for the creation of RHA, the one step I immediately liked about it was that a bunch of us who do all run our own businesses (and are competitors) have agreed that we need to communicate and make sure that we spread our events out and don't over saturate the market, to me that is a HUGE step. I can only hope that others will realize the value in that and stop with the "your either with us or your against us" policy, that is not only getting old but not helping our sport one bit!
Player, Coach, Hockey Director