Female-only hockey a priority for minor hockey association

SMHA AGM notes referrees still a major concern

The Smithers Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) has a new president.

At their annual general meeting on May 16, outgoing president Dave Tucker handed off the position to former vice president Ted Owens.

The SMHA also approved its final budget draft unanimously and discussed a number of initiatives, both local and provincial, that the organization is trying to accomplish.

One of those was a move toward more female-only hockey, something that Tucker said came out of a desire to help encourage girls to get involved with the sport.

“Quite often female players will play on an integrated team and [be] comfortable but a lot of females [might] just want to hang out with other girls so we want to provide them an opportunity to play with just other girls.”

Throughout the meeting parents and board members also discussed logistical concerns that had arisen in the past year.

One of those was the issue of finding coaches, something that the board agreed was one of its bigger challenges.

Tucker noted that before the SMHA received an influx of coaches in late September, things were getting pretty dicey for a while.

“It kind of [created] a bit of an issue with dads just ending up going on the ice without giving anybody notice,” he said, noting the obvious insurance concerns associated with this.

For this reason the SMHA voted unanimously to make the association’s new technical director role, filled by Brendan Hutchinson, a hybrid role which would encompass the head coach position as well.

Tucker said Hutchinson’s new role was created to help provide volunteers with someone they could rely on with lots of experience throughout the season and to try and alleviate some of those aforementioned concerns regarding a lack of coaches .

[Our volunteers are] growing just as our players are [and] we want to make sure they’re equipped to continue coaching through the time that their child is in [the league].”

Toward the end of the meeting the SMHA also voted to request $40,000 in grant funding for next year’s season, which passed unanimously.

A number of other vacant positions were also filled throughout the meeting.

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