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Selfish vibes abound

I am writing this letter in response to letters to the editor and accompanying articles which appeared in local papers dealing with the movement of minor hockey players between Rainy River and Baudette, Mn.

In their separate letters, a mother and father expressed their views regarding a recent Minnesota hockey ruling which required their children to produce a “release” or “waiver” from their home hockey association.

Those parents writing those letters would like you to believe that Rainy River’s minor hockey board is simply being stubborn and impeding the development of their children as hockey players. I’ll not start quoting and arguing policies of one association against another but the simple fact is Rainy River is following a set of rules set down by the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) and the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association (TBAHA). These are rules that they must follow and which they properly stood by.

To maintain Rainy River association’s integrity, and to ensure its affiliation with the CHA, they must follow Canadian regulations.

The parents who crafted these letters are demanding that the local association abide by rules set down by the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA), and then get their noses out of joint when rules are not changed specifically to suit their ideas of what hockey development is all about.

Folks, all these boundary rules and “releases” and “waivers” starts to make an institution which was designed for kids seem kinda complicated . . . doesn’t it??? Damn right it’s complicated and the reason it’s complicated is staring you right in the face!!! Parents over the years didn’t think the local teams were good enough, didn’t like the coaching, felt their child’s skills exceeded the skills of other area children, etc., etc., and would move them to another team close by.

Now, their child would take the place of another local child in the area they were now playing, which resulted in the inevitable bad feelings (“Why doesn’t that kid play in his own town,” yada, yada, yada). Does any of this sound familiar?

Thus, the rules and boundaries have been established to help to prevent this type of selfish behaviour. But parents still try and get around these rules, feeling their child is special, and some will actually become so ridiculously obsessed by a kids’ game that they will bully and go as far as to threaten legal action against the volunteers who try and maintain the integrity of their local kids’ game of hockey.

Let’s hope our situation doesn’t go this far, or we truly would be playing an American game.

What bothers me the most was the feeling of disassociation from the community and the selfish vibes I get from the whole situation. It’s a big-city attitude for complaining about what is here and doing nothing to involve yourself or make things better.

The volunteers who serve as board members in Rainy River minor hockey, or any other organization in this town, work very hard and put in a great deal of their own time. I’m certain that some of our board members are wondering if all the hassle is worth the effort. I hope they all choose to ride this out, and I hope people in this town let them know they are behind them.

The board here is doing a very good job of building a decent program. And if you would rather try and tear things down instead of help out . . . (write your own ending).


Marc Sharpe

Referee in Chief/

Head instructor of

Initiation Program

for the RRMHA

P.S. I’d be happy to discuss the state of Canadian hockey and these local issues with anyone. You’ll probably find me at the rink helping out.

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