I am told that there is some good, positive news coming as it pertains to minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie. As in a new level of co-operation between the Sault Major Hockey Association and the Soo Pee Wee Hockey League.
Let’s hope so.
Much has been made — and rightfully so — about some of the nasty inner politics that have plagued minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie over the past few years.
Sadly and rather unfortunately, there are some adults with their own agendas that have indirectly — if not clearly — put themselves and their selfish actions ahead of player development at the minor hockey level in Sault Ste. Marie.
And, to be sure, the actions of some so-called minor hockey leaders have contributed to Sault Ste. Marie falling well behind other northern Ontario towns in terms of player advancement and development. Most notably, the much smaller northern Ontario town of North Bay has surpassed Sault Ste. Marie on many levels of minor hockey, particularly within the AAA bantam and AAA midget programs.
At any rate, it can probably be said that any problem is capable of being fixed. And while fixing what is clearly broken may take some time, I am told that progress is being made under a co-operative leadership that includes SMHA president Richard Barsanti and SPWHL president Mike Landry.
Of course, there is only so much that Barsanti and Landry can do as president of their respective associations. They need the backing of their executives and AAA team reps to be able to move forward with any co-operative progress.
But let’s hope that any executive member who is not part of the solution is seen for what he or she is — which is part of the problem. Let’s hope that those who have been dragging down minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie either walk out the door or be shown the door.
You know what really bothers me? It’s the same thing that bothers so many parents who have kids in minor hockey who I have talked to. And that is the number of self-serving adults who are ruining minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie.
But back to the positive side of minor hockey.
Installing Barsanti — who has a splendid, clean reputation as a minor hockey coach and team sponsor that spans decades — as Sault Major president is clearly a positive.
And bringing world-class former player and coach Craig Hartsburg on as a coaching mentor has clearly been a positive up at the Soo Pee Wee. In fact, Hartsburg himself — who is no easy man to please or impress — told me that he sees “a lot of positive things happening” within the Soo Pee Wee ranks.
It is truly important for the future of minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie that factions within SMHA and SPWHL work together for the good of the kids. After all, isn’t that why adults are supposed to get involved in any youth sports program — for the good of the kids?
It is time that Sault Ste. Marie minor hockey takes a step forward instead of backwards. It is time to rid the respective associations of coaches, managers, trainers and executive members who care only about themselves and what may be important to them and them only.
As I noted at the beginning of this column — I am hearing that positive news as it pertains to minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie will soon be upon us.
I hope that what I have been told is true. I hope that what I have been hearing comes to pass in a positive manner.
Actions do speak louder than words. And here is hoping that positive action is headed the way of minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie.