Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography
Following the Annual General Meeting earlier in the month, Bob Hill was acclaimed to the position of President. Hill, who will serve a two year term, has held numerous positions within minor hockey, most recently Vice-President, Central District with the OMHA. Outgoing President Rob Ring moves into the role of Past President.
We spoke with Hill to see what he is looking forward to in his new role and how he plans to approach some of the challenges that lie ahead.
I began my minor hockey journey in Ingersoll where I played both House League and Representative hockey, finishing with the Ingersoll Juvenile team. In 1984, I attended McMaster University in the Physical Education program where one of the required courses was a Coaching class. As part of the class we were to Coach a minor sports team in the community. I was living in Ancaster at the time so it seemed logical to look there for a placement. I put my name in to volunteer and was given a Peewee house league team to coach in 1986. For the next 22 years I coached in Ancaster at the House League, Select and Representative levels and then at the AAA level in Hamilton for two seasons.
While coaching, I decided to become involved in the administrative side of things and was named to the Ancaster Minor Hockey Association as the OMHA Centre Contact. It was here that I started attending the Tri-County Minor Hockey League meetings and learned a lot about Minor Hockey Associations and the administrative side of it all.
After my tenure on the Ancaster Executive ended, I approached Wayne Pries to become an OMHA Convenor. Wayne took me on and two years later he asked if I would consider running as an OMHA Regional Executive Member. I put my name in the ring and was acclaimed to the position. Since that time, I have served as a Regional Executive Member and Vice-President of the Central District before taking on my present role.
I believe the most important lesson I learned was how important teamwork is to achieving your goals. Teamwork not only achieves team goals but individual goals as well. Working with others as a team increases your ability to recognize the strengths in others and use all those different strengths to achieve a common goal. My time playing team sports prepared me for my work career and helped me recognize the differences in people and the need to treat everyone as an individual in all circumstances.
My time as a coach and administrator also taught me the importance of listening to what people have to say, not just hearing what they are saying. Everyone sees circumstances differently which explains why one player may have passed the puck while another shot the puck. Listening is the cornerstone to effective communication and provides the tools to respond to everyone in a manner that satisfies their concerns, issues or needs.
I look forward to working with our new Board and concentrating on increasing our ability to effectively communicate as an organization with the membership. I have set up a Committee to develop a Strategic Plan that will focus on preparing a plan to chart the direction the OMHA will follow in the next few years to address the important issues identified by our stakeholders. I am excited to see the results generated by the Committee and hope to implement their recommendations for the future growth and well-being of the OMHA.
I also hope create a more inclusive OMHA where all the Centre Executives, members and players believe and feel they play an important and necessary part in the success of the OMHA. In addition, I want to promote and increase the current status of the Recreational hockey players and Leagues. Recreational players are far too important to the health of the OMHA and hockey in Canada to be referred to as “just house league players”. I hope to change that mindset and raise the importance of our Recreational players and their contributions to the OMHA to a level that is justly deserved.
Last but not least I hope we return the OMHA player experience back to its primary purpose, that being FUN!
Volunteering is the backbone of all minor sports, not just hockey. Without volunteers we cannot provide the hockey programs that are so important to our players. These programs and volunteers are so instrumental in providing an atmosphere of fun where life lessons and good citizens are developed. Our youth need volunteers to prepare them to be the leaders of the future and provide the skills necessary to build successful communities in which to live. Volunteering and giving back to the community can also be very rewarding when the players they were involved with become successful, move on to be leaders in the community or simply stop them to say thank you for being my coach, trainer or manager.
I think the immediate major challenge is improving our communications to the Centres, Executives, parents and players. The OMHA must communicate in a timelier manner in order to mitigate the impact the decision might have on the stakeholders.
The new governance the OHF will be adopting may create a situation where the OMHA and potentially other OHF Members, will have less input into the day to day operations affected by the OHF Regulations and Policies.
The continued existence of non-sanctioned hockey organizations continues to place a burden on the local OMHA Centres and their ability to run the programs.
The competition for available players is also increasing within OMHA Centres and outside the OMHA by the GTHL and Alliance. Everyone is looking for players and looking to the neighbours to top up their player pool.
I am looking forward to the challenges of the new position as President and to visiting and reaching out to as many people in the OMHA membership as I can. I look forward to working with the new Board and living up to our commitment to be leaders in the community and providing a fun and enjoyable environment for all our members.
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