Junior Hockey Expansion Appeal

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Junior Hockey Expansion Appeal

As a follow up to yesterdays article on Expansion denial, this article will cover the review process. This is a factual account of a Junior Hockey expansion application appeal and the process involved. Persons involved on all sides have not been named in order to maintain a simple fact based report on the process.

For clarity, the appeal process was considered very fair by the ownership group. The ownership group also felt the denial of the original application was correct in that the Council had to believe the information presented by the Affiliate president. USAH is not in the business of investigating its Affiliates because none of them should act in a deceptive manner.

After learning of a the Junior Councils decision to deny the application for expansion, the ownership group made the decision to appeal. Because the Council made the decision based upon false representations made by the Affiliate President, the appeal contained email proofs of the false statements made, and the expressed prior support that had been withdrawn at the ficticious 2:00 AM board meeting.

The ownership group was given 10 days to present their appeal to USAH. A fair amount of time in most peoples opinion.

The group during that time made multiple phone calls, and sent multiple emails to the Affiliate president, other Affiliate members, and the hockey director involved in the attempt to reach a compromise.

None of these communications were returned until after the appeal had been submitted. In the untimely returned communications, not once were any fact based proofs or arguments presented that would make the casual observer convinced that the placement of this team was not a good idea. Once again, minutes from the alleged board meeting were requested, and once again they did not exist.

The ownership group went further and was willing to accept even more restrictions to protect the local midget hockey program. Although these restrictions were seen by some as completely unreasonable, they could have been accepted. Once this was suggested by the ownership group, the Affiliate president stopped communicating.

The ownership group found another arena within the affiliate, the arena not only wanted the team, but needed the team to stay viable financially. General lease terms were agreed to. This was made part of the appeal, and seemed to solve all the issues concerning ice time availability.

The appeal was read by the expansion and review board.

On Tuesday January 31st, 2012, the appeal was denied and dismissed.

In the dismissal it was stated that the board could not approve the team because of the change in venue, and that issue was outside of their scope of issues they were able to review. It was also stated that it could be re-presented to the Junior Council as an "exigent circumstance" at the June meeting.

According to the ownership group, they reluctantly agreed that the appeal board made the right decision stating that the relocation of the franchise was outside of the scope of their authority in this case.

What can we learn from this process to improve the process, or eliminate the clear conflicts of interest shown by the Affiliate president and others involved in midget hockey?

As people, we almost always look to serve our self interests. It is a selfless person that can rise above influence and politics to do the right things for others that can potentialy benefit from any given situation. In hockey, there are far too few of those selfless people working within local districts and at the affiliate level.

TJHN would suggest the following:

If a parent of a player that could potentialy be effected by any junior hockey expansion is a member of the Affilate board, or the local board, that parent must recuse themselves from voting on, or otherwise influencing the decision making process.

The Affiliate should be required to take a documented vote from members within the local youth association that may be effected.

Any association outside of a 50 mile radius should not be allowed to block by basis of a larger membership the decision of the local association most effected by the decision.

Affiliates that control multiple states should be forced into having singular state representation so as to not allow one state to control another fate when questions of expansion come up.

When affiliate board members are caught not being truthful, they should be immediately removed from their position, and if making representations found to be untrue for their own programs benefit, the program involved should be denied entry to any National Championship competition.

Without penalty, some people will continue to take liberty that is beyond their authority.

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