Promoting youth hockey in New Brighton, Mounds View, St. Anthony and Shoreview, MN

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Irondale Youth Hockey Association Board Meeting Minutes

IYHA February 20, 2014 Board of Directors Meeting:  Called to order 6:31 pm by Tom Gombold
Board Members Present:  Tom Gombold, Brent Eilefson, John Niedfeldt-Thomas, Nicki Oswald,  James Sigmundik, Shari Kunza, Adam Schmidt, Tom Rodefeld, Bill Jacob, Tim Manson, Steve Clark, Rob Hanson, Kara Chamberlain
Board Members Absent:  
Guests:  Andrea Neumann, 25-30 guests attended Co-Op Open Forum.
Minutes:  January meeting minutes reviewed.  Tim Manson moved to approve, Nicki Nelson second.  Approved.
                November meeting minutes reviewed.  Approved.
December Board meeting minutes will be read and approved next month. 
Board Roundtable:
President:  Welcomed all and kicked off Co-Op Open Forum.
Vice President:  
Boys Program Coordinator
Girls Program Coordinator:  
Initiation Program Coordinator
District Representative
Ice Commissioner:   
Registration coordinator
Equipment Manager
Boys HS Coach
Girls HS Coach:   
Standing Reports:
Player and Coach Development Committee
Lake Region
Fundraising Committee:  
Potential Partnership Committee:  Dormant.
Website Update:   
Old Business
1.  SKATE Program:  Andrea provided update.  Over $3000 in prizes.  Need better response from participants.  25 responses so far.  March 27 at Zero Gravity.  Come on people!
New Business:  
1.  Co-Op Open Forum.
Lively discussion regarding proposed MV co-op. 
Discussions have been taking place at a high level with MV for several months, including the exchange of the framework terms of a full-association co-op agreement.  Secretary attended January MV Board meeting and was well received.  The IYHA and MVYHA contingents met in February to discuss feasibility of a full-association co-op, with both sides leaving that meeting optimistic that such a co-op would serve to benefit all youth players in our area, but recognizing that others in each association disagree.  Attending that meeting, from IYHA, was Treasurer, Secretary, Boys Coordinator, Girls Coordinator, Initiation Coordinator; from MV, President, VP/Boys Coordinator, Tryout Coordinator, Girls Coordinator and Mite Coordinator.  General understanding was that the proposed full association co-op agreement would be a framework only, that the coordinators and treasurers, as well as a co-op operating committee, would be meeting to flesh out the finer details of the co-op.
Proposed co-op agreement and forecasted numbers for next season, for both associations, were distributed.  Discussed dismal status of the numbers for both associations, other than a fair number of peewees at MV, and rehashed historical Lake Region ties with MV dating back to 1967.  Separate associations not formed until 1993, and prior to this time we had 4 HS state tourney appearances between us.  Discussed tie between low numbers and the high cost of playing hockey.  Discussed importance of having kids play at proper levels.  Reminded everyone that IYHA girls are currently under a two year co-op agreement with MV, regardless of decision around full association co-op.  Reports are that the girls co-op with MV is going great, with certain exceptions at the U12 level that are driven primarily by team size. 
Also, discussed current state of each association.  IYHA is co-oping with two associations this season, North Metro and St. Francis, and is co-oped on the girls side with Mounds View.  Also, this season, we waived our U14s to Roseville, which has provided some difficulties as Roseville has reneged on agreement to use some IYHA ice.  Each of these co-ops and arrangements has its pluses and minuses, and each provides valuable insight into what we need to consider relative to future co-ops.  Some attendees in the crowd lamented the lack of granular detail in the proposed MV co-op agreement, especially around financial matters, and the need to retain “leverage.”  There was some discussion around what drives the need for such detail and leverage, with the Secretary suggesting that paranoia and distrust drives much of the debate and we need to move past that.  Reiterated that the MV co-op contemplates a joint operating committee staffed equally by IYHA and MVYHA members.        
Discussed some difficult questions:  What is the end-game here?  An informal vote was taken to confirm that a majority of the board believes that a merger with MV is ultimately what will be needed to sustain youth hockey in our area.  The proposed co-op agreement specifically mentions this.  What is the goal of Irondale Hockey, and is that goal served by the co-op?  The goal is to develop players for Irondale HS, and it is acknowledged that as long as the high schools are separate we will face a difficult situation where IYHA kids may open enroll at MV, or vice versa, though that situation currently exists in the form of not just MV, but TG, Hill-Murray, etc.  Other comments were addressed, particularly relating to issues we experienced this season with the North Metro co-op.  It was reiterated that the proposed MV co-op is different, but will benefit from our experience with NM and others. 
At various times, perceptions of playing hockey at MV were discussed.  Fairness of tryouts was questioned (the agreement calls for outside, neutral evaluators), the cost of MV hockey was discussed (cost is largely in line with IYHA, we have been told, though the MV billing process needs to be looked at—they allegedly received four ice bills in December and January—but IYHA treasurer will assess), coach selection was discussed (proposed selection committee of equal representation), D2 versus D10 was discussed (IYHA historically has played D2), jerseys (brand incorporating both associations is contemplated), non-parent coaches (which will be addressed in light of mission to reduce the cost of hockey, and to ensure talented parent coaches get priority where appropriate).  Other matters were discussed including player development (clinics), team size (limit to 15), home association and what that means, etc.   
Discussed the fact that these issues get people to speak up and participate, yet it is near impossible to get people to run for leadership positions in IYHA.  I think the word apathy was used, which is sad in the context of your kid’s youth hockey experience.  Did I mention April is election month—please consider running for an open position.
John Niedfeldt-Thomas moved to approve the proposed Full Association Co-Op Agreement, as amended to include equal representation on coaches selection committee, contingent on MV approving same agreement as amended.  Bill Jacob second.  Motion passes.
Shari Kunza moved to adjourn.  Nicki Nelson second.  Adjourned at 8:46 pm.