Reading through the Collegiate Inline Hockey forum section's topic of "2009 NCRHA Nationals" has motivated this observer to open this new and very relavent topic of High School Recruitment and separate it from its origin.
Advancing the Collegiate level of the sport places an inherent reliance on the health and growth of the scholastic leagues, programs and the student athletes in the high school and middle school ranks below them in the growth pyramid. While college rosters may not be exclusively filled from graduates of high school hockey programs, it would be inescapable to not recognize the importance of them. After all, enrollment from the high school ranks is the lifeblood to College. For hockey players, it's merely the natural progression for graduating student athletes seeking to blend their love for the sport with their educational choices. Recruitment should likewise be a part of the process. But how best to recruit and by what practices and rules, if any, should this process be governed?
In the 2009 NCRHA Nationals topic, Kevin Murphy, Head Coach, Towson Univ. and ECRHA Commissioner, introduced the NCRHA League Operations Manual in his reply regarding Recruitment. Included therein is no mention for How To. Included also in this same manual is the section devoted to the position of Director of Development in which it describes: Responsibilities of the DD include fostering relationships with high school players and leagues, creation of literature aimed at prospective students and teams promoting of the league, and other duties assigned from time to time by the Board.
As a long-standing partner with the NCRHA and WCRHL, my comments are not intended to belittle any effort. Rather, I make my inquiry to those who either do or want to recruit and build their respective programs about what's working, or not, and why.
For example, within the last 24 hours I have received one request to recruit and one request to co-promote from college teams with our IHF high school league (30 high schools in So CA). The promotion part was easy - the local Saddleback Gauchos won the NCRHA JC National title this past weekend with a roster mostly filled by our alumi. The recruitment part poses more the question at hand.
Aside from the obvious values and benefits of interscholastic competition for student athletes, the high school program also provides role models and a platform for youth players and to the future both in terms of their longevity in the sport and the fiscal health of the facilities and industry alike. The high school ranks feed the ever-growing collegiate roller and ice hockey programs alike. Hence, it could be said that the ranks above should be helping to influence and foster the ranks below.
Even Hollywood has helped to influence this sport when, on October 2, 1992, Coach Bombay introduced the Flying "V" and the Mighty Ducks were launched by Disney and spawned a growth phenom for this industry. Today, those little kids who watched that movie are playing college roller hockey! And the birthyear 1992 high school kids are graduating (class of '09). What will you be doing to help recruit them?
Some of the High School programs around the country:
Arizona Inline Hockey Association (AIHA) www.aiha.info
Interscholastic Hockey Federation (IHF) www.ihf-hockey.org
Colorado High School Inline Hockey League www.chsihl.com
Florida Inline Scholastic Hockey www.pbskatezone.com/
FISH High School Inline Hockey League
Gerogia High School Roller Hockey Association (GRHA) www.ghrahockey.com
Top Shelf Jr. and High School League www.topshelfsports.net
Michigan Roller Hockey Association www.mrha.info
South Mississippi Inline Hockey League www.smihl.com
Missouri Inline Hockey League (MOIHA) www.moiha.org
Skate Safe America - Islandwide www.skatesafeamerica.com
High School Roller Hockey League of Long island www.hsrhlofli.com
Ohio Interscholastic Hockey League (OIRHL) www.oirhl.com/
Pennsylvinia Interscholastic Roller Hockey League (PIRHL) www.pirhl.net
JOPA Sports Complex www.jopasports.com
See you at the rinks!