Port Dover Minor Hockey joins with Simcoe and Waterford in new Norfolk Minor Hockey Assn. for Rep team partnership



By Jan Dean

There was only one thing on the agenda for the Nov. 21 general meeting of the Port Dover Minor Hockey Association – a full membership vote on the proposed Rep Partnership Agreement.

Earlier in the week, both the Simcoe Minor Hockey Association and the Waterford Minor Hockey Association voted to approve the Rep Partnership for the 2020/2021 season
Though only 22 PDMHA members voted on Thursday night, it passed with a strong majority.
Linda Ralf of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association was on hand to observe the vote and count ballots.
Those votes mean that the three local minor hockey associations will continue to run their recreational local league hockey programs but they give up their right to ice Rep teams.
Instead the three associations will incorporate a new Norfolk County Minor Hockey Association that they will jointly administer.

Above: Cars fill the parking lot at Port Dover & Area Arena.

The Norfolk County Association will operate Rep teams to be made up of local players from the three recreational local leagues.
The goal is to keep local players playing locally by creating Rep teams that will be more competitive because they draw from three local hockey associations rather than one.
All of this began last June when local minor hockey boards met and discussed the idea.
Over the summer, those board members shared their ideas with members and developed a partnership agreement.
When that was approved, all three boards approved a Memorandum of Agreement.
It was that Memorandum that members of all three hockey associations voted to support during the week of Nov. 18.
Now the approved Memorandum will be submitted to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association for approval.
PDMHA President Shawn McMillan chaired the Nov. 21 meeting but chose to change the voting protocol.
Instead of a show of hands as prescribed in their Constitution, members voted by secret ballot.
“The idea behind creating a Rep Partnership is to make hockey better for all participants,” said Shawn. “That includes strengthening the local recreational local leagues.”
Rep teams will be made up of players from Simcoe, Waterford and Port Dover.
Those Rep teams will be stronger and the hope is they will keep local players from moving to other associations to compete on the Rep level.
Both Shawn and PDMHA Past President Pat Meahan said they wish Delhi and Langton had joined so the Norfolk County Minor Hockey Association would represent all of Norfolk County – but that could still happen in the future.
Each level of Rep team will rotate among the three communities. One year, the Pee Wee Rep team will have Port Dover as its home arena, the next year the team would move to another home arena.
Also by next year, the names of age divisions will be changed to match those approved by the Canadian Minor Hockey Association. Divisions will be designated Under-9 (U9), Under-11 (U11), Under-13 (U13), Under-15 (U15), Under-18 (U18) and Under-21 (U21)
The new Norfolk Association’s board will be composed of members of the three minor hockey associations participating.
This kind of reorganization is happening in many hockey communities across Ontario right now as small communities struggle to keep their local hockey associations viable.
“If you had told me even three years ago we’d be going in this direction, I wouldn’t have believed you,” agreed Shawn and Pat.
After two years, each of the three participating hockey associations will vote on whether they want to remain in the new system.
One of the first tasks of organizing the new Rep Association will be choosing a name for the Rep teams.
Shawn says that’s the fun part and points to the Rep Association between Ancaster and Glanbrook as an example. Their Rep teams are named the Glancaster Bombers.
It’s going to be crazy busy for Simcoe, Waterford and Port Dover Minor Hockey Associations to organize everything to get the Norfolk County Minor Hockey Association up and running for next fall with a full complement of Rep teams playing.
But PDMHA board members are looking forward to the next step.
All they have to do now is wait for the OMHA to approve the new program so they can start making it happen.


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