MWJHL Responds To Push Back Season Start

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MWJHL responds to push back season start August 15, 2012 7:21 AM

Following my article yesterday, I received a call from and had a great conversation with MWJHL commissioner Pat Pylypuik.

I reported yesterday that the MWJHL was going to postpone the 2012-2013 season for two weeks to allow for teams to recruit players and fill out rosters. Commissioner Pylypuik said the following concerning postponement:

"As a league, we have spoken at length about postponing the season a few weeks in order to allow some teams more time to recruit players. After that discussion we decided that we will not postpone the season at this time. The league scheduled the start of the season, and it is up to the member teams who approved that start time to be ready for the season as agreed."

Following that statement I asked why that discussion took place, and will all teams be prepared to play? The Commissioner responded:

"There are a few teams that have volunteered information concerning their struggles recruiting players. The idea of postponement was brought up to assist them in the form of allowing more time to recruit. There will come a time in the near future that the league may have to make some decisions concerning the future of those teams and their ability to play this season. As a league we will act in the best interest of the players first, and if in their best interest it is determined that some teams may not play this season, that is a decision we are prepared to make."

The candor in which our discussion took place was a sign of leadership that is willing to make tough decisions when those tough decisions need to be made. There was an open conversation concerning some teams not working hard enough to attend camps and showcases for recruiting purposes. The Commissioner made it very clear that he expects more from some teams than they have been giving in the form of effort in recruiting and marketing. He also made it clear that some teams are exceeding expectations in recruiting and marketing.

The Commissioner closed our conversation by saying, "In the end it is about the players and providing solid organizations with the best level of competition we can. The league can only do so much for the teams, we can not recruit for them. Being out in the field, doing the hard work, meeting people and having the opportunity to sell their program is work only they can do. In todays age, recruiting by email, phone calls or facebook, players are tired of these types of solicitations. The teams that are successful are those that build personal relationships with the players and their family. We are encouraging every team to go out and be active and if they do, they will be successful in time."

The MWJHL is not the only league struggling to recruit players. Many teams in USA Hockey and AAU are finding it hard to recruit. More often than not though, it is the teams that do not actively work camps and showcases that are struggling. The Field of Dreams idea of "build it and they will come" does not work. Having a website saying you have a team that is part of a league is only the first step. Unfortunately many teams seem to think its all they need to do, those teams who take that course will either die or have their off season work reflected in their bottom line and in the wins and loss columns this season.

Joseph Kolodziej

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