Now that the season is in full swing, there are several updates I would like to share with you...
Now that the hockey season is in full swing, there are several updates to share with you…
OUR NEW HOME – Hopefully by now most of you have had the chance to familiarize yourself with the new EBSP (Erie Bank Sports Park). We are proud of the new facility and we hope, with your help, to create a lot of great memories there in the coming years!!!
With that said, it is a new facility and not yet 100% complete. Keep in mind that original planning had a completion date of mid-November, but the development team reprioritized and shifted the focus to get the ice rinks ready in early September for the start of the hockey season. We in the Erie hockey community are very fortunate that EBSP and Rink Management Services reached that goal. Just want you all to understand why the facility looks close - but not yet finished. Some of the amenities, such as the Erie Sports Now Fitness and Training Center, bleachers, heaters in the viewing areas, etc.… are yet to come. Thank you for your continued patience and support while the EBSP staff and Rink Management Services continues to strive towards providing us with a world-class facility.
EYHA would also like to take a moment to recognize the vision, commitment and fortitude of a couple past EYHA Board Members that are now part of the Board for G.R.E.A.T.T. (Greater Regional Erie Athletic Team Training Inc.). These gentlemen were not only instrumental in making EBSP a reality, but they have also put the breath of life back into the sport of hockey in the Erie area and we owe them a sincere debt of gratitude – Past EYHA Presidents Bob Catalde and Dr. Sean Carroll. THANK YOU BOB AND SEAN!
SCHEDULING – One of the most valuable things that comes along with having EBSP available to us is convenience and the consistency/predictability of our schedules. Groups/teams are now practicing and having their games on set days of the week and, in many cases, at set times, making things a lot more manageable/enjoyable/affordable for all our members and their families. I’m sure we can all remember a time in our not too distant past when this type of convenience was something we could only dream of.
With 56 groups/teams across 6 different programs in EYHA, there are still many moving parts and circumstances to be accounted for week-in and week-out in our scheduling, even with having EBSP as our home-base. Making that all work, along with schedules for referees and EMTs, is no small task to say the least. So, when you get a chance, take a minute to thank our Scheduler, Stacey Nicklas. Stacey is in a role where she typically only hears from someone if something goes wrong. It would be great to counterbalance that by letting her know that we appreciate all that she does to make sure things are going right. THANK YOU STACEY!
EYHA IS GROWING – From a sheer number standpoint, there are 966 Total Members/Players within EYHA. That includes:
21 Youth Teams (387 Members/Players) – Including Little Pens and ADM
This is up from 350 last year
35 Adult League Teams (579 Members/Players)
These numbers have steadily grown each year
What’s most encouraging about these numbers is where they came from. The increase came primarily from Little Pens and ADM registrations. As you might imagine, that is ideal in terms of getting young kids interested/involved in hockey at an early age and progressing through our programs.
In addition to registrations, Bridget Dolak, our Vice President, has been very instrumental in coordinating with USA Hockey and Pittsburgh Penguins organization to offer 4 - Try Hockey for Free events this year, the first of which took place last Saturday. For this first event, 30 kids between the ages of 4 and 11 were registered and 20 of them showed up (Remember last Saturday’s weather?!?!?). From here, these 20 kids will head into either Learn to Skate, which is handled by EBSP, or our Little Pens or ADM programs. If anyone would like to volunteer to help with the 3 remaining Try Hockey for Free events, please contact Bridget.
As part of offering Try Hockey for Free through the Pittsburgh Penguins, their organization has donated 50 full sets of hockey gear to EYHA that we can keep, if we continue to offer/support the Try Hockey for Free program, which we intend to do. This includes full pads, skates, helmets, sticks and bags! This gear will benefit EYHA for years to come… THANK YOU BRIDGET!
PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO NOTICE – PAHL (Pittsburg Amateur Hockey League) has awarded EYHA a Grow the Sport Award in the amount of $3,000!
Together with the Roger Sharrer grant ($3,450) that we were awarded from Mid-AM/USA Hockey earlier this year, we will be able to invest in the following items, at no cost to our members, to help grow our programs:
"Croxice" style hard side rink dividers – 2 sets
Pylon plus hockey training kits
Rink side white boards
ADM ringlet hockey trainer
ADM shooter tutor - size intermediate
Shooter tutor - size normal
This is a combined $6,450 that we have been given simply for taking the initiative to participate and to tell our story/share our vision. Obviously, our supporting organizations can see and believe in what we are trying to do, which is encouraging. These awards are evidence of the progress we are making and validation that we are on the right track.
A special thank you needs to be given to Sean Duffy, our House Director, who invested the time and effort into making sure we didn’t miss out on either of these opportunities. THANK YOU SEAN!
THE BEST IS YET TO COME – Now that we are settling into EBSP, our organization can finally start to shift our focus beyond just our base-level needs. Here is a list of things that are on the horizon:
Hosting our own tournaments:
Sarah Backstrom Memorial Girls Tournament – February 8th – 10th 2019
Joe McCallion House/Select Tournament – March 15th – 17th 2019
EYHA Spring Travel Tournament – March 29th – 31st 2019
EYHA Spring Mite Jamboree – April 5th – 7th 2019
Closer collaboration with the Erie Otters – Family Nights, Camps, Coaches Clinics, Promotional activities…
Leveraging the Erie Sports Now Fitness and Training Center
Partnership with PEP (Power Edge Pro) – More details to come soon!!!
Additional Programing – Stick Times, Open Skates, Skills Clinics…
The return of Spring Hockey for both youth and adults
The addition of Summer Hockey for both youth and adults
As a volunteer organization, we rely on our members to make our programs successful. Your willingness to participate and to help has a direct impact on the quality of the Association overall and the speed with which we can execute on the items listed about. To get involved, please feel free to reach out to me or any other Board Member, Team Manager or Coach and let us know that you are interested.
Thank you for taking the time to read through these updates!