Politics a growing concern in Semiahmoo minor hockey

There is growing concern among parents and children in the Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association that the growing influence of politics – selection based on who knows who – is hindering players’ ability to play hockey at a level they deserve.

“I’m not a fan of how it’s run,” said Brad Orr, when asked about the rep team tryout process at Semiahmoo. “I definitely don’t like how they do things.”

Orr, 14, has tried out for rep hockey three times in his six seasons of competitive hockey for Semiahmoo. He’s made A3 (the lowest level rep team) twice before opting to drop to house level this season at the conclusion of the tryouts.

“I just didn’t want to make the full commitment for a team that I didn’t want to play for,” he said.

In recent years, the minor hockey association had the players grouped by last name alphabetically for two skill skates, where they would be evaluated. They would then be split into scrimmage groups based on their evaluation rankings. They have recently amended the tryout process, with the skill skates and scrimmages being grouped-based on where the players played the year before, with opportunities to move up to a higher group throughout the process.

“I feel like the way they did it this year was quite good,” said Orr. “It did make things more confusing but having a website explaining how everything works was better.”

Julie F (last name withheld by request), who’s children formerly played for Semiahmoo Minor Hockey, echoed Orr’s thoughts.

“It definitely looks like they revamped the process and they’ve organized the use of the ice a lot better.”

Although both Orr and Julie agreed that it was a step in the right direction, neither of them thinks this has or will eliminate the politics issue.

“I think there’s politics in both sides,” Orr said. “I don’t see a huge difference as far as politics goes in the evaluation systems.”

Julie added, “It doesn’t matter what sport it is, there’s always going to be politics. The trueness of a child being selected solely dependant on their skills is gone. The integrity is gone.”

While the new process shows an effort on Semiahmoo’s part to fix the problem, both Orr and Julie feel there are better ways to do so.

“They need to bring in outside coaches and get them set before they start picking the teams,” Orr suggested, “instead of getting dads to do it.”

Julie explains that in Cloverdale, neither the coaches nor anyone in the organization evaluates players for the rep teams.

“They bring in paid evaluators for your skill skates and your first couple of games. Then when they get into roster cuts for the exhibition games, the association leaves it up to the coaches. That’s what Semiahmoo needs to do.”

Messages left for both the Semiahmoo A1 coach and the Association were not returned before deadline.


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