As we enter into our pre-season preparations for 2012-2013, I would like to take this opportunity to update our players, parents and membership on board related activity and developments. I hope to make this communiqué a regular occurrence as our season progresses.
Final head coaching and assistant positions are now being defined for all divisions and teams. As you know, all of Western’s coaches generously volunteer their time and talents to the development of our players. We are very pleased to have an excellent pool of coaches supporting our program this year. All of them have either prior coaching experience with Western or other youth hockey organizations, formal coaching accreditations and/or excellent playing experience at the amateur and even professional level. We appreciate your support as we work through coordinating coaches’ personal and business schedules with practice times and team distribution. Announcements will follow shortly.
The board is pleased to welcome Paul Fernandes to our group. Paul has been a long time Western parent with children playing on the Pee Wee, Squirt and Mite teams. Paul will be assisting with game and practice jerseys, shells and marketing in addition to other board matters. We are also pleased to have Luisa Britton as our new Treasurer. She has been helping out the board for many years in an unofficial capacity and we appreciate her continued support.
As we welcome Paul and Luisa, we extend our sincere appreciation to departing board members Pete McLean and Tina Delafield for their long service to the board. Pete and Tina remain active in hockey and will be participating with the Brewster organization this year. Please join us in thanking them for all they’ve done to make Western the program it is today. In addition to being coaching director, Pete coached for many years, and Tina was our long time treasurer.
Finally, as posted to our website, we have reluctantly decided to field only one team at the Bantam level this year. Player participation at the Bantam level has been historically challenging to manage as many skaters elect to move up to their high school organizations at this age level. For the 2012-2013 season, we had only 22 skaters trying out and fielding two teams would have resulted in short rosters. Last year, we fielded two teams with short rosters and found this to be very challenging for both teams, in particular, as checking comes back into play at the Bantam level. This experience led us to a single team decision. Looking forward, it is our intention to support at least two teams at every level. At present, we have very high participation in the Pee Wee division with over 20 players with a 2000 birth year alone. This bodes very well for a return to multiple Bantam teams in the future.