Soo minor hockey issues

Randy Russon
November 6, 2017

The state of minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie serves as an ongoing and almost routine basis for banter among those with any sort of link or interest in its well being.

To be sure, a common conclusion is that Sault Ste. Marie is not developing or advancing near the number of players for higher levels of play than it did just a few short years ago.

By comparison, it was just a few short years ago that North Bay was clearly the weak side among the so-called big three Northern Ontario hockey towns that also include Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.

Not any more.

As Sault Ste. Marie has seen its status decline at the minor and major bantam and minor and major midget age levels, the Gateway City has become a jewel through the revamping and restructuring of its North Bay and District Trappers Hockey Association.

In fact, one of Sault Ste. Marie’s top minor midget aged players, forward David Campbell, opted to leave home to play in North Bay this season. And the fact that Campbell leads the minor midget North Bay Trappers of the Great North Midget Hockey League with 13 goals in 11 games thus far this season is a tad embarrassing — and if it isn’t, it should be — to the Sault Major Hockey Association.

It is one thing for a player from Sault Ste. Marie to want to leave home to play in the Greater Toronto Hockey League as left winger Nick Porco did at age 14 before becoming a first round pick (fourth overall) of the Saginaw Spirit at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft.

But it is an entirely different matter for a youngster like Campbell to leave the Sault Major Hockey Association for a North Bay rep program that only a few years ago was a regional and provincial laughingstock.

Just looking at the aforementioned Great North Midget Hockey League, the records of the two Sault Ste. Marie teams and the two North Bay teams are stark in their contrast.

The major midget North Bay Trappers have a record of 14-3-1. The major midget Soo Greyhounds have a record of 8-8-3.

The minor midget North Bay Trappers have a record of 7-4-0. The minor midget Soo Thunderbirds have a record of 1-8-3.

Then there is the 2017 OHL priority selections draft at which North Bay had five players selected compared to only one Soo skater.

Considering that Sault Ste. Marie has a much bigger population to draw from than North Bay, one word immediately comes to mind when comparing the minor and major midget hockey programs from both towns: Yikes.

That is not to say that all is on the down side as it pertains to minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie. There are some encouraging signs from within the Sault Major Hockey Association and for that matter, the Soo Pee Wee Hockey League.

But the common complaint or refrain — take your choice of word — that I hear is the major issue of what is wrong with minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie starts with executive members who choose to, and are allowed to, carry on with their own agendas at the expense of player development and with little regard for parental input or concern.

I am not sure why certain people involve themselves in minor hockey. I am not sure why certain self-absorbed, self-serving people put their adult egos ahead of young hockey players and their parents. You know, the parents who are shelling out considerable cash to put their kids into and through the Sault Ste. Marie minor hockey system.

Again, there is some good going on within the Sault Ste. Marie youth hockey scene. But in comparison to the once-downtrodden North Bay minor hockey program, the once-vaunted minor hockey program in Sault Ste. Marie comes up short on the overall big picture.

As always, there are some who will take issue with what is being said and written. As always, there are some who have an issue with hearing the truth.

But so be it.

My hearing has not failed me, at least not yet. I hear what I hear from various factions and a lot of what I hear is head shaking and unsettling.

To be honest, I would much rather be writing about the successes of the minor hockey teams and associations of Sault Ste. Marie and the player development and advancement that would go with it.

But I hear what I hear. And I see what I see.

Still, I will continue to try to find positive among the negative and focus on as many players as I can, something that I have aspired to do in the 42-plus years that I have been writing and talking hockey.

For instance, I will write about a small goalie with huge potential such as Noah Zeppa of the Soo minor midgets. As I will write about an up and coming forward such as Ty Zachary of the Soo minor midgets who overcame two benign tumours in his leg to return to competitive hockey after a year away from it.

Just as I was quick to post it when the Soo minor midgets stunned the North Bay major midgets in an epic upset from this past weekend.

I will go out of my way to contact OHL general managers and scouts to ask that they at least give a serious look and consideration to a player who I feel is worthy of being a potential draft pick.

I will continue to go on the weekly Hockey North Show that I host on radio station ESPN 1400 to “talk up” local players and their aspirations.

Just as I will continue to try to promote hockey in general and players in particular as they pertain to northern Ontario and towns such as Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Kapuskasing, Hearst et al.

But I can not and I will not pretend that all is well and that all are on board towards the betterment of minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie.

I am not going to get into naming names and singling out those individuals who have allegedly played a detrimental role in regards to the current state of minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie.

But I will resort to an old saying which goes something like this: If you are not part of the solution then chances are you are part of the problem.

In other words, step aside and give the game back to the kids.

What you think about “Soo minor hockey issues”

  1. Been waiting for this article Randy, Bang on with all the comments. Me thinks Sault Major is hibernating until they think its time to start working on next years issues . Don’t get me wrong I know the executive is hard at work with regular season stuff…. but waiting till next January to address the current problems is insurance that we will all be dealing with the same issues next season.
    Rhetoric around the rink is blaming the Peewee Executive Leadership for all it’s problems. Bottom line Soo Major Executive needs some housekeeping too.

  2. Randy, great article.

    I’ve been very vocal prior as to my feelings with regards to the problems in SSM Minor Hockey. One would only need to spend some time and look back and review past local hockey articles on your web page that I’ve offered my comments and thoughts on. Am I right, I’m not an expert but I think I’m pretty close? I’ve had, and have kids in the system. Sadly Sault Major is the biggest contributing factor to the poor programs that are operated under the Sault Major umbrella. Take a look at the current rankings of our local rep teams. It’s embarrassing, upsetting, disgraceful, humiliating and shameful. It wasn’t long ago; SSM was a respected hockey community at the minor hockey level. Now our teams are door mats in the north and Ontario.

    (As of Nov. 6th 2017)
    Major Midget AAA – Ranked 56th in the province and trending down.
    Minor Midget AAA – Ranked 50th in the province (Dead Last)
    Major Bantam AAA – Ranked 55th in the province (2 more spots until dead last)
    Minor Bantam AAA – No team, parents/players chose to not play (once a top team in the province).
    Major PeeWee AAA – Ranked 55th in the Province (Dead Last)
    Minor PeeWee AAA – Ranked 54th in the Province
    Major Atom AA – Ranked 2nd in the Province
    Minor Atom AA – No team, parents stayed away from tryouts and chose to play at PeeWee

    One must also consider the local hockey knowledge that has recently been turned away from coaching our kids. I shake my head every-time I think of the local hockey expertise that Sault Major has insulted and turned a blind eye too.

    Craig Hartsburg – told to leave the ice during a 05 AAA practice. Good enough to lead Team Canada World Jr’s to gold, OHL and NHL teams, but not good enough to be on the ice with the local PeeWee team. Shameful.

    Denny Lambert – Applied to coach a Bantam AAA team this season, prior experience includes Head Coach of the OHL Greyhounds, Assistant Coach of the OHL Greyhounds, and Assistant Coach of the QHL Gatineau Olympiques, played almost 500 games at the NHL level. No room for him in Sault Major? Shameful.

    John Parco – Applied to coach and run the Minor Midget AAA program. Experience includes 5 years of coaching in Italy at the Professional level. Played at the Professional Level, participated and represented Italy at international events (including the Turin Olympics), past graduate of the OHL where he scored over a 100 goals in 3 seasons. Ironically John wasn’t good enough to coach our kids but he was good enough to coach and succeed at coaching the local Jr A Thunderbirds. How does Sault Major turn this type of experience away? Unbelievable and embarrassing.

    There are numerous other local hockey minds that applied for teams this season and were told their expertise, knowledge and coaching weren’t required (Kevin Mackay, Terry Chitaroni, Marc Disano, Jeff Toms among others). Can you honestly say that any of the above gentlemen would not benefit a local hockey program? Do you honestly think our young players would not benefit from any of the above gentleman teaching them the game? Do you honestly feel our young hockey players would not develop under these proven hockey minds? Well Sault Major thinks not – Shameful.

    The problems at Sault Major didn’t just start. The problems and poor decision making have been ongoing and festering for a number of years. Sadly, we’re now seeing the effect and results of the mis-management of the whole Sault Major Rep Program. People like AB and MC are doing more harm than good. They’ve made mistake after mistake at the expense of our kids, they’ve used back door tactics to ensure they continue to have their spot on the board, they’ve allowed personnel feelings and emotions to overtake good sound decision making. They’ve chased good executive people away – SL, TA among others.

    It would be best for minor hockey and our youth in SSM to blow the whole Sault Major Program up and start fresh. Knowledgeable, accountable, good decision makers are needed to create strong organizations. Sault Major lacks many of these characteristics and qualities. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few quality people on the board, the trouble is the old grizzlies won’t listen to them and allow the required change. Over time, these quality people will get frustrated and leave.

    Change is needed, what Sault Major is doing now isn’t working. The proof is in the rankings, the number of local kids being drafted and the number of kids leaving for greener pastures.

  3. Good Points…sadly it has become about Certain coaches and parents who have lost their way. Parents who need to coach or at the very least control everything (hmm what ages can we be talking about here). Are the coaches you mentioned good hockey minds?? Absolutely, Have some of them lost their way? Most Definitely. They or their preferred coach (coach who will do as they wish)wasn’t chosen. That is why we have all the boycotts. (Money is only a small part of it) Does Sault hockey need a revamp..HELL YES… Should it include these parents who are only in it for their kids. HELL NO!!! Is Soo Major Perfect ..NOPE…and Neither is Soo Pee Wee and how they deal with certain teams and coaches also. But, if parents complain and have the right people on their side, they can do and say whatever they want with no repercussions.
    I can’t wait for the spring boycotting season….

  4. and TA was good, yes, but SL has lost his way also, and sadly isn’t near as good as he now that he has his blinders on. When the Soo (Soo Minor) Greyhound program was told their brand was too strong, that’s when the wheels fell off. Instead of using it as a model when he took over, it was basically left to rot on it’s own. As they are doing with all but one team that (hmmmm) SL supports wholeheartedly and managed to get games over others more deserved.

  5. The North Bay teams of past were a joke because the system didn’t start AAA until the Major Bantam year. By then, they were too far behind.
    My son went through this experience and it hurt his development. Now that AAA starts right at Minor Peewee, North Bay is at least competitive with major centers.

    Hopefully, the Soo corrects their problems so they can once again be competitive.

  6. Informed….. I don’t understand your logic or analogy? Shouldn’t parents have a choice on how they spend $10,000 plus dollars? If the coaching staff isn’t up to their expectation or the hockey model is wrong (in their opinion) shouldn’t parents be free to sign-up and play elsewhere? Do you often spend thousands of dollars on a product you don’t want?

    The fact that parents of three Rep teams (08, 05, 04) made alternate choices for their players is a strong indicator that things aren’t right and not centralized to one parent group. You may as well add the 03’s to the mix. 4 of there players chose to move on to different organizations because of unhappiness with the product. That’s 4 out of 8 teams. Seems to be much more than certain coaches or parents loosing their way?

    I do agree….. spring time will be interesting.

  7. Is Sault Major working on a development plan for next season? Results over the past 5 years (with the exception of a couple of age groups) have been poor. What is being done to improve player development? Who are they reaching out to for advice/strategies? Is Sault Major working on a marketing plan for the next season? Marketing plans usually require research on getting to know your customer base and your customers’ expectations. Clearly their customers have spoken. Customers are not buying in … literally. Interesting how many assumptions are being made when there have been very few conversations held with the actual customer base.

  8. Hockey parents have lost their minds. Holding your kids back from AAA because you don’t like the coaches? Thank God my parents gave me the chance to play AAA hockey at the bantam level. I don’t remember my parents or any parents even talking to the coaches back then. It was all business. We grew up quick on those first few bantam road trips. I remember been lost down town Toronto. Scared we were going to be late to the bus. But we figured it out. There was 16 of us together. Life long friendships made because of my years of bantam. 6 stood up in my wedding. 1 of them my child’s god father. I wouldn’t be able to say that if it wasn’t for bantam aaa hockey. Parents your taking away valuable years and memories from your kids. Dont tell me you can get the same experiences playing AA. Because you can’t. Hockey changes when you move past bantam. I’ve always said bantam hockey is the best hockey because it’s the last time you get to play with your best friends. Parents if you can afford it, let your kid play. The coach shouldn’t matter. And if it matters that much then soo major find another coach. Don’t take away this precious year from the kids. It’s not their fault. Do whatever it takes to get that bantam team back next year. Regardless of how good they will be.

  9. There’s so much pressure on kids once they hit midget hockey. No wonder why kids turn to highschool hockey now. There so much bullshit and pressure by the time they hit 18 they’re burnt out. I don’t blame them. Remember it’s about the kids. Parents sit back and enjoy it. It goes by quick. dont make it any quicker if you have a kid that really loves the game.

  10. Let’s be real, it is no where near 10,000 for the 08s, and 05s and probably no more or less than what they are paying for “Select” with one team going so far as to refuse to be called Soo Pee Wee Selects (God Forbid) and wear a Pee Wee Jersey…why? because it is beneath them?? As for the 04s it is well documented that offers and severe price reductions were offered and fell deaf ears; but you will find that a lot of those same 04s are paying well over $4000 for all their child’s hockey and that isn’t including the travel, food and meals. So what did they save???
    Plain and simple its’ about arrogance and control.

    1. Informed….. You’re missing the point. Why pay for a product you don’t want?

      I’ll bet with qualified coaching, proper development/hockey model and true financial reporting systems all teams would be operating today.

      Parents did play elsewhere.
      08’s are at the Soo PeeWee playing Selects
      05’s are at the Soo PeeWee playing Selects
      04’s are playing Major Bantam AA
      03’s are playing in S. ON and Western Canada.

      Obviously everyone makes choices based on what they feel is best for their child.

      You mention the 04’s, if offers and price reductions fell on deaf ears why would you not make improvements to your coaching staff and hockey model. Perhaps that would have inspired parents to consider the Thunder Program.

    2. “Informed”
      Im a bit confused which side you reside on as you have some good arguments, but then you go down the “Rabbit hole” contradicting and gossiping on things you know nothing about. So lets break your comments down to a level that readers understand

      You – “Let’s be real, it is no where near 10,000 for the 08s, and 05s and probably no more or less than what they are paying for “Select”
      Okay most AAA teams traveled and stayed in 35-40 hotel nights ($6k) last year US and Canada ,Meals $1k, gas$1k, team fees$2.5K, and fundraising adds up pretty dam close to $10K doesnt it?. (4-5 tourneys, league travel, exhibitions) that my friend is a hell of alot more than what the select teams pay.

      You – One team going so far as to refuse to be called Soo Pee Wee Selects (God Forbid) and wear a Pee Wee Jersey…why? because it is beneath them??
      Where was the refusal part I’m confused.. Mike Landry never offered us a Jersey or even a spot on his website (but we did wear the select loaner jerseys for a month til our new ones landed) , I didnt know that there was a rule (that you just made up) that we have to wear a “Peewee Select Jersey” or show me in the constitution lol) BUT!!! WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS ISSUE HAVE TO DO WITH HOCKEY PROBLEMS IN THE SAULT ?? please dont run for any spots in Sault Major you definitely arent focused on the real issues

    1. Informed….. the only bullying that I heard about through out the spring and summer was done by the Thunder Organization. Many have indicated that numerous times Thunder executive indicated “It was there way, or play somewhere else”. Looks like the 04’s chose the later.

      In the end parents have a choice on how they want to spend their disposable income. 4 of 8 teams chose to play something other than Rep Hockey. What’s wrong with that?

      Don’t be bitter, learn from your mistakes and improve your product. Successful businesses do it all the time.

      1. because they told the Thunder how it was going to be, their way or no way…how would you react, in the end? In the end the Thunder did give into a lot of demands, and money/busing and rooming issues saving thousands of dollars, but no control over the team and who made it…. hey everyone is to blame, this could have been handled better on both sides

        1. Informed, you’re dead wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. The 04’s were never ever involved in discussions or made demands with the Thunder. I went to the information meetings like a few others and was told by the Thunder “Our way or the Highway” & “We’ve been doing this for a long time and know what we’re doing”. No one from the Thunder asked me about my concerns or why I signed my son up for AA hockey, nor would I expect them too. The Thunder executive sat at the front of the meetings and arrogantly boasted about how good they were. All kinds of wrong assumptions and speculations were made by the Thunder. At no time did anyone from the 04’s indicate they wanted control of the team. Why would they, it’s a proven loser. Had the hockey problems (model) inherent with the Thunder been addressed, the financial concerns would have taken care of themselves. If the Thunder really cared about youth hockey they would have taken a honest look at their model and made change. The problems are glaring. The Thunder chose not to. MY OPINION.

          In the end, the Thunder is not a hockey development organization, the Thunder is a tour bus company. Hard words to hear, but a FACT.

          1. you may have been at the meetings but you are not aware of the offers….plain and simple….were the Thunder arrogant….yep…were you guys….yep.. You said it is our way or no way…They did make concessions…it wasn’t enough…Who would have been your ideal non-parental coach? and what would have been your appropriate cost??? Now you have a stalemate to make your point and are still paying a small fortune…more than anyone else in AA… and basically from what I’m told, 2 maybe 3 of your kids are standing out, the rest are blending in with the rest of the AA kids. If your developmental model was so good, they should all have been noticed on a regular basis…

          2. I was also at the most recent information session as well as the two previous meetings held with the 03/04 during 2016. Hockey101 is very accurate in the statements made above.
            Parents at the 03/04 meeting were clearly told that if they were not happy with the AAA programs in place they could look at the AA option.
            “Give us your boy and we will give you back a man.”
            “Save money. Put your son on the bus and stay back to work some overtime.”

  11. Couple of things for “Informed”. Who is the team that SL preferred, and got local games for? I assume the Soo Reps? If any of the Sault Major teams want some local exhibition games, I’m sure they would happily agree to play.

    As far as the name goes, that was 100% up to the Pee Wee (Landry). The team was willing to play under any name they were given. In fact, some of the early team info was given out with the heading Soo Pee Wee Selects. The name was assigned.

    And if you want to compare costs, how about 20 less nights in hotels? How about no bus trips? Saved a dollar or two.

    And who was bullied and strong armed? A group of kids didn’t try out for Sault Major. They went elsewhere. And then they get blocked from competing in some Ontario tournaments. Who’s strong arming who?

    For someone called “Informed”, I’d expect you to be more knowledgeable.

    1. Then you better talk to your parents as this came from them, not to mention the other select teams who aren’t happy because it seems you are allowed to do whatever you please, There are several parents who need that rep moniker, and now in a round about way you have it…how come rooms didn’t matter to you before?? 20 nights less in hotels because you have nowhere to play!!! your reputation precedes you, that’s why.. telling people you are “Pee Wee AA independant” (from Myhockeyrankings) are you ashamed to admit you are from the Pee Wee. Really, Like Landry and the Pee Wee had a choice?!?!?! If allowed to play house league you would have been split up and 3 kids would have destroyed that league. You left them with no other option.
      Spare me people…. the best alternative…play High School Hockey… and if the High School Convener was smart he would apply for a junior league to compliment the regular league.
      Hockey needs to be fixed, people at Soo Major and Soo Pee Wee need to step aside as I said before…having said that…if the ship is righted and all starts to fall in are still only going to get 3 or 4 kids from any year drafted on average…
      and that my friends is a FACT

  12. The new rankings are out. Could things get any worse?

    Major Midget AAA – Ranked 56th in the province.
    Minor Midget AAA – Ranked 48th in the province
    Major Bantam AAA – Ranked 58th in the province
    Minor Bantam AAA – No team
    Major PeeWee AAA – Ranked 55th
    Minor PeeWee AAA – Ranked 54th
    Major Atom AA – Ranked 6th in the Province
    Minor Atom AA – No team

    If change isn’t made, teams will continue to struggle and players/parents will become more frustrated and leave hockey. Is that really what we all want?

    Sault Major, you’re destroying youth hockey in SSM. It’s time for new minds and new ideas. Step away and do the right thing.

    1. anthony i like how you pulled out those rankings. Did you bother to check if the rankings were any favourable 5 , 6, 7 or 10 years ago. The rankings have always been bad for sault ste. marie and there have always been only a few kids drafted each year. It is hard to compete at the AAA level when you are competing against teams that have a larger pool of kids to choose from. That is a fact and it will be as such for many , many years to come. None of those coaches you spoke about would make a difference in the rankings you posted. Also i spoke with a hockey parent this morning and they told me that they are paying more now for AA hockey than it cost them in the past for AAA with all the out of town tournaments. The parents who have boycotted AAA have exercised their right to do so but their excuses are lame at best. Period.

      1. Yep. Huge metropolitan areas like Timmins, North Bay, Sarnia, Peterborough, etc. all rated higher than us. Absolutely makes sense right? Definitely not anything wrong with the local system right?

  13. ‘Did you bother to check if the rankings were any favourable 5 , 6, 7 or 10 years ago. The rankings have always been bad for sault ste. marie ‘…..

    Exactly, and right on point hockey critic. So let’s change it up, new blood on the executive for starters, new coaches with hockey philosophies that promote projection to the highest levels and progressive hockey programs that not only have on ice, but heavy off ice trading as well. We can keep up with southern centres or at the very least our northern competitors (Sudbury , North Bay etc) . North Bay made big changes and reaped big rewards at the Ohl draft this year. There is no reason why the Sault can’t match their success!

  14. If all you parents were as passionate about your child’s educational development the world would be a better place… but you are not… you are more upset that you don’t like a coach more than you are upset that you don’t like a bad teacher….but I guess the teacher won’t get your son drafted

  15. “Informed” it’s time you go away. You post nonsense. If you indeed were sitting in for any discussions, than you are simply lying to try and shift blame from the problem in hockey that you maybe the cause of and the change that is drastically needed in SSM. If you are not sitting at the head table or from the Thunder organization than your information is probably not even third part. You must be getting forth and fifth hand information. You are the problem with hockey in SSM. I’m not here to argue. Maybe you did talk to one disgruntled parent. But let’s listen to the many. As Hockey 101 and Lisa stated above. The Thunder organization only gave their altimatum to concerns voiced by not only one parent group but 3 age groups that were willing to sit and ask for change in a program that wasn’t working anymore. Not only in their program but all of Sault Majors Bantam and Midget programs. If you are “Informed” and aware of so much information than you also know and are very aware that these parent groups began expressing their concerns 2 years ago with hopes that change would slowly be made. Sault Major sent a group of executives to the initial meeting to listen to concerns that the 3 groups had with only the staff of what would take over the 03 group the following year. The Thunder did not feel it necessary to at least listen or hear. The executive that was present argued on behalf of the whole board and the teams for over an hour only to say we can’t make any decisions and tried to divert the responsibility to another member MC who also would not show his face. Now fast forward 1 1/2 years and no talks. I believe the 03 group tried but did get cold feet and succumbed to altimatums and worries that their kids would get blackballed “and rightfully so” by the staff in place. To only come to see that even worse than their worst nightmare to come true with the program they received for their minor bantam year.

    Now, remember “Informed” the 04 coaches you speak of had been doing their homework for two or more years and only informed us as parents what may lie ahead. They did not make us do anything. They gave us “very Informed” knowledge of their experiences as players, coaches, and parents. We simply had to make our own decision from what we knew of, which was simply a very good player development program and it also carried high success over the past 4 years. Or, a program that was showing a steady decline and would not sit, talk and listen. The words right up until April from the Thunder was , and I quote ” if you don’t want to pay, we will find parents who will pay” “it’s okay to go play AA”. Now does that sound like an organization sitting at a table making concessions. Staff members tried to call what they thought was a bluff right up until September 1. Again their words. ” I didn’t think you wouldn’t show up”. If you or others say we are spending more in AA than we would have in AAA, you again are wrong but I’m not going to split hairs. My Money now is going to practice time and skill development that over the past 4 years I grew to learn was very impactful and played a huge roll in not only my sons development but that of the 17 players that these coaches helped and molded into hockey players.

    I’m not saying that other coaches in the past or present haven’t. I am saying that they brought the new style and an up to date style that is being followed by the younger groups.

    Stats stand for something. They are not everything, but they are a tool and a gauge that helps measure progress.

    Minor Atom. #1
    Major Atom. #1
    Minor PeeWee. #11
    Major PeeWee. #16.

    Go ahead. Compare to not only years past Soo teams at each age group but take a shot and compare this team to all teams out of the North at the same age groups. Compare all you want. Looks like they were on the right track to match and better any team out of the north and what those best teams produced come draft time. Now, I would never take away from teams past that have obviously proven themselves and have proven numbers of players drafted or that moved on in hockey in some form. What can be shown is that they seem to know what they were doing and were pointing this team in the right direction.

    We should be happy in our city with progress, and success not afraid of it.

    It’s okay to learn and share. Not any one program is perfect. But learning and building together makes success.

  16. We are now ranked number one in Ontario for 05 AA, 3/4ths pack for AAA and improving. It’s safe to say at this time on behalf of the parents, We the Soo Reps (Yah the 2005 PeeWee Selects… if its hard for you to say it, it simply doesn’t matter to us lol “PEEWEE SELECTS” that’s us) are happy with our decision… Please feel free to ask anyone on the team I mean it please ask !!!. Every team we have played has left with a level of respect and that’s all we ask. Now stop…. and ask those 2005 AA and KBX parents who took our AAA spots this year how they feel, If you take the time to listen to the facts from the real parents you will understand that its not about the letters but more about a great coach and staff. (I will never understand why others follow around the Three red letters like a dum puppies?) Reality Yes!! the Soo Reps are years behind in our development due to a joke of a coaching staff for the past 3 years. (Not one guy had anything more than high school among the bunch of them special thanks to Soo Minor) But we are improving and thanks to a great coach and staff providing lots of quality practices, development and fun, (3-1 ratio practice to games) Playing hockey locally and saving money. Last year I spent over $10k on useless travel to games that could be obtained locally and or within proximity of the Sault. Kids sleep in their own beds for the first time regularly in years… All you nay sayers can chirp all you want. We can sleep at night and all night long. Save your judgement for the other programs or problems don’t worry about us
    As for SL , I have to say he is a stand up guy and those who trash him have forgotten the first rule to listen first before judging someone. Gossip in this town is rampant. perhaps a serious part of the problem today

  17. Oh and Randy, did I mention “Thankyou ” for allowing this forum to remind the executive of Soo Major that the problem is not going away anytime soon without some major changes. NOHA – DR are you listening??
    Its time to start a petition/ talk to a lawyer (I’d pool my money to force change) to remove the executive and form a new board of “Elite Hockey” people. Its time for the hockey community to stand together and force change or we will be right where we are now only 365 days older.

  18. Gordie. 5 years ago bantam majors lost in all Ontario final. 5 years before that they lost in bronze medal game. That’s just the bantam greyhounds. I don’t remember how the thunder did off the top of my head but I’m sure they had the same success. That’s with the same coaches you lunatic parents chased out. soo north Stars were ranked top 3 in the province every year from 2004 to their demise. plain and simple the talent these bantam coaches are given is no where close to what it once was. Leave it at that. The aren’t magicians. Kids aren’t good enough.

  19. .Poor Rep hockey dad….hit a nerve with the truth did I…. funny how you never really acknowledge and just skirted around issues ranting and raving…. High school is next year…you know, that’s when you guys boycott the current crop of coaches….
    Then why not just have Pee Wee Select Jerseys??? oh yeah….the need for validation….
    Long time listener…go back a month or so and read the comments and read just what was offered BEFORE the parents meeting….. it’s simply too much to type…I am aware of what you were told …I’m just saying you may not have all the info.
    Did you guys have a great record…yep….are they good hockey players…yep..but
    Also, your team was far from perfect as far as issues…to the point of not being able to ice a full team the last year at try-outs, parents and kids quitting at the end of the year, hell I heard that there was a huge argument between 2 ” 04 AAA Fathers” last week… months after the team ended…Seriously? Time to let things go…

    Now I have said it before and will say it yet again….Was Soo Major Wrong with who they chose and arrogant in their stance…yep….were the parents wrong with their my way or no way stance yes.. are changes needed ..Hell Yes… but like the big three directors a few years ago no one was willing to budge and give up control….and here we are today…. miserable and divided

    But NOT ONE of you have yet to answer the questions…. 1. What is the proper price for hockey??…Yes, it is expensive we are all aware of that.

    2. if not the chosen coaches …then who are the recommended “non-parental” coaches of choice for you? (remember, no parents on staff) Because even the best most respected hockey guy will tell you, a child should not have the same coach for several years.

    3. What defines a “hockey mind” that you people talk about sooooo much …OHL/NHL/Pro experience? Frankly, People like Hartsy, and Toots are absolute GOLD and for every Hartsy and Toots out there, there are a lot of former NHL/OHL/Pro guys in town that are revered but can’t teach hockey to save their lives.
    On the flipside of that coin, there are regular beer league Joes out there that can help teach and nurture kids and are great hockey minds, and there are horrible beer league joes out there too.

    Watch Bantam A and B hockey this year…it is horrible, how do kids play 6/8 years of hockey at the pee wee and not know basic skills and skating, cross overs …etc????? that is where the ball was dropped also. But all you rep parents didn’t care until it started to affect you personally. Now all of a sudden “WE NEED CHANGE” is all we hear. Because now, all of a sudden, you are in it for all the kids….

    From a guy who is actually in it for all the kids…

    Good Day All, I’m out….

    1. Informed – Yes We love the validation, actually its for the kids, they play for those jerseys and trust me the smiles on their faces when they got their new bling was priceless I am confident they will talk about them 20 years from now .

      Again with your gossip informed – The fight between the 2 AAA parents was something else completely unrelated to hockey. I was right there when it happened so trust me you don’t know what your talking about

      With the exception of one parent left on our bench (who is more than happy to back away). I think its safe to say we could be happy to roll with these 6 non-parent coaches. they have taught the kids a ton already and their commitment is excellent. I do agree with your comment on limiting the number of years to coach a kid (Probably the primary reason we left this year)

      At the end of the day we wish dialogue would occur with Sault Major – So to align everyone for next year. Lets get the issues out on the table …. I hope they understand that force feeding a coach on any one group is no longer no longer a successful practice….

  20. It amazes me how the Soo rankings are so low but year after year there (Thunder Birds) junior team is in first place with home grown talent for the most part plus enough Soo boys playing for other Junior teams around the province to make a second team.

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