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									Select Hockey in the News

February 9, 2009
  Letter to the Editor, Kingston Whig Standard
   Select Hockey in the News

 It is wonderful to see Kingston & Area Minor Hockey Association (KAMHA) introduce a Select
Hockey program this season (Whig Jan 2009 “New hockey program shows Silver lining”).
Select Hockey pools the strongest kids from House Leagues giving them the opportunity of
more competitive play without the time commitment, travel and expense of Rep hockey.

 The Whig reported on the success of the KAMHA Atom Selects in the Silver Stick in January
and then ran a profile of Belleville Bulls Goaltender Mike Murphy citing his early years playing
Select in the Church Athletic League (CAL).

  This past weekend all House League play in the CAL was suspended as all 9 Select teams
competed in Tournaments in Oshawa and Richmond Hill along with 2 of the KAMHA Select
teams. Of those 11 squads, competing against teams from all across Ontario and a few from
the US, 8 made Championship Finals and 5 of those were victorious.

 That is quite a statement about the strength of Kingston Select programs.

  The Church Athletic League (CAL) has been offering Select hockey for 30 years or more with
the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA). The CAL program is called Player
Development (PD) and focuses on skill development.

  It’s important to understand that with Select in Kingston, all games are exhibition. In the CAL
that means PD teams playing House League teams the next division up. There is little
expectation to win. It’s more to learn to compete against bigger, faster, older players, which
entails skating better and moving the puck faster. There are no standings or playoffs or
championships other than tournaments. This means there is less pressure, less expectations
by parents and less hype.

 With the move of all Hockey in Kingston to the OMHA two years ago and the amalgamation of

Select Hockey in the News

the former Township and City Leagues, Rep teams are having to travel further and often having
more difficulty competing. As a result, it seems the Select option is growing in popularity. The
CAL hosted a Bantam Select Tournament in January and attracted many area organizations
such as Trenton, Napanee and Picton that have added new Select teams.

  But as Select hockey grows, it would be a mistake to change the focus from learning
opportunities for better House League players into competing in a regional league that would
just make it another form of Rep and weaken those important competitive programs.

  First and foremost, House League hockey is for fun and fitness, Select is an extension of that
sentiment. On Sunday afternoon at an arena in Richmond Hill, there were tears shed by
parents when Midget PD Coach Dave O’Connor put 6 buddies on the ice for the last shift in the
Championship Game of likely their last tournament. Six very skilled 17 and 18 year old guys,
who had played with each other in Select and against each other in House League ever since
they were 5 or 6. As the buzzer rang, and the celebration began, they skated over to the glass
and raised a victory salute to their parents. It was a moment to be cherished for eternity. It was
a moment that was a testament to what Select Hockey is all about.

 Hugh Mackenzie, Futures Committee Chair


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