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Minnesota Hockey Announces Exploratory Committee to Examine District and Association Vitality

By Minnesota Hockey, 12/09/21, 4:15PM CST


St. Paul, MN – December 9, 2021 – Minnesota Hockey today announced the formation of a committee to examine and explore potential changes to the structure of Districts and associations. The process will focus on the changing demographics across all areas of the state while preserving and enhancing the unique community-based model of hockey in Minnesota.

“As is the case in any state, Minnesota has seen many changes in communities over the years, many of which affect enrollment in youth sports in various pockets of the state” said Minnesota Hockey President, Steven Oleheiser. “It is vitally important that we take these changes into consideration as we attempt to keep all of our associations healthy and poised for success as they continue to provide opportunities for our youth to play the greatest game in the world.”

While Minnesota Hockey has seen the number of 8 & Under players in the state rise to record levels over the five seasons prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and has seen another spike in participation this year, the fact remains that many areas need support to grow participation. Many communities that were once sparsely populated have grown exponentially. However, there are also once thriving communities that have not seen a similar influx of families with young children. These changes have a large ripple effect toward the participation and competitive balance in youth hockey:

While many options will be discussed, among the potential issues that will be explored include:

  • Reorganization of Districts, which would potentially change the home district for associations
  • Reorganization and administration of Leagues
  • Review of affiliate agreements and association boundaries
  • Examining potential criteria for mergers and/or co-ops between associations
  • Evaluating participation trends of associations and how those changes impact the experience of players
  • Further initiatives to grow hockey participation among families of color and creating a more welcoming culture for all

“While there are many topics on the table for discussion, nothing has been determined at this point and it will be up to this committee to make recommendations to our board,” said Oleheiser. “As leaders in youth hockey and community-based sports, we must be proactive in striving to support every association, and ensuring that every child that wants to play hockey has that opportunity.”

Committee members will be established in December of 2021, and findings and recommendations of the committee will be presented at the Minnesota Hockey summer meeting in June, 2022.

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