Hockey rules for high school students unfair says readerSaturday, August 24, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
SooToday.com has received the following letter from a local and concerned hockey fan who wants to know why schools are preventing high school hockey players can't play in the Sault Major Hockey League.
I'm responding to an article posted on Sault Major Hockey's website by League President Matt Cavaliere (found here
For those unfamiliar with the situation, there's been a long-held policy in SSM that hockey players may not play both league (SMHA) and high school hockey.
In his letter, Cavaliere states that "Sault Major did approach the High School Athletic Committee last year to allow players to play both Sault Major and High School [hockey]; however they turned the proposal down, hence leaving players to only play for one organization."
My question is, why are schools involving themselves in how students spend their free time?
Students are free to play high school hockey in addition to, quite literally, any other sport or extra-curricular activity without limitation.
Yet for some reason the school is telling students that they may not play high school and league (SMHA) hockey.
The rule is also inconsistent with how other high school sports are treated - basketball players, football players and soccer players are free to play for both their high school team and in a competitive league - so why the restriction on hockey players?
I've witnessed first-hand multiple instances where high school coaches have promised playing time to more players than they can possibly accommodate, ultimately leaving some players with nowhere to play at all when they're cut from the high school team.
Coaches will often try (successfully at times) to convince players to quit their SMHA team part-way through the season in order to join their high school team.
What message are they sending to students by telling them that quitting on your teammates is acceptable?
With enrolment down across the board and childhood obesity rates on the rise, you'd think that we'd be giving kids more opportunity to be physically active, yet for some reason high schools are doing just the opposite.
Schools have no business telling kids what to do with their free time, leave it up to the student and his/her family.
A Local Hockey Fan
D_Laity 8/24/2013 12:22:04 PM Report
I coach in Sault Major and 100% agree and support this fans statements.
In other areas, players are able to play in both league and high school, our city should be no different.
Sault Major has registration deadlines and we draft our teams prior to high school hockey even selecting their teams. So what many of the high school teams have been doing is making false promises to many players, asking them to come play for the school. Problem is, some don't sign up for Sault Major, go to the high school teams tryouts to find 25 other kids that were told the same thing. Now there isn't enough roster spots for the players and some have no where to go.
Now I played high school hockey and I don't blame the players for wanting to play in front of their friends, it is a lot of fun. But at the end of the day, it has never been right that the players can't play both here in the Sault when they can in other cities.
In addition, high school teams (and in my particular situation Korah's hockey club for 3 straight seasons) attempted to poach my team goalie during the season. As a learning facility high schools should be focusing on teaching their students the importance of following through on their commitments, not on breaking them. That's a brutal message they are sending.
Let the students decide how they wish to spend their spare time. There is no reason the two leagues can't work out an arrangement that works for both. Sault Major's numbers are dwindling and it's no secret that the league is struggling. With that said, we will soon have multiple super schools here in the Sault and if you want high school sports to survive, everyone needs to start looking at alternatives!
stiJJy 8/24/2013 12:26:20 PM Report
I agree, it's a pretty ridiculous situation.
Oldie Goldie 8/24/2013 12:29:24 PM Report
Hockey is not a Sport anymore---It is a Business---You either play for me or you play for no one---often, if a player plays for one team outside of School then that team does not want them to play for a School Team so why should anyone worry about those who play School Hockey cannot play for another team outside of School.
If you are on a Midget Team outside of School and you want to move up you will be told what team to play for just like the National Hockey League Draft System.
The Draft System--outside of School Hockey--forces you to play for the team that is decided for you unless, on rare occasions, you can work out a Trade.
D_Laity 8/24/2013 12:33:12 PM Report
The students that this affect need to know that they have the right to question the schools and the athletic committee's. Ask them why they are attempting to control their spare time?
I high school football player can play Sabrecats. So why not the same with hockey? Sault Major has already come forward with a willingness to work out a mutually beneficial schedule, etc. So the excuse that the seasons cross over isn't valid.
If all the players that wanted to play both signed up for Sault Major and then show up for high school tryouts, there is nothing saying they can't play. And if the high schools try to say that they won't select players that sign up for Sault Major, that tune would change if the players they want sign up for both.
D_Laity 8/24/2013 12:36:08 PM Report
Your comments are valid to an extent.
However in todays changing environment (ie. Sault Major's numbers down and the emergence of super schools). All the parties need to be forward thinking in nature or else all the programs are going to suffer.
Norm 8/24/2013 12:37:00 PM Report
I played SMHA in the sixties and high school football players were allowed to complete the short football season, then play hockey at the JR B level, then Soo Rapids and Soo Indians. I'm not aware of any of them joining the SMHA as we never had any on our team. Maybe this policy is age old and for a good reason. I'm not sure why, but I know the hockey season can be long and gruelling. Maybe Mr Cavailier can explain further.
Berto_12 8/24/2013 12:46:46 PM Report
Letting them play both would get the kids off the couch more often and improve the calibre of both leagues. If it's too much of a commitment, let the kid's parents decide that, it shouldn't be up to the league or the school. This is kids hockey we're talking about after all, just let them play!
D_Laity 8/24/2013 12:48:17 PM Report
It use to be a SMHA rule that stated you could not play in another league. It was they're right as an organized sporting league that is registered with the NOHA. However they are being forward thinking and so now allowing players to play both. It is the high schools that are saying no. And they shouldn't be able to tell students what to do with their own time. Why do they allow some students to play in two football leagues but not two hockey leagues?
It's not Matt Cavaliere that needs to explain further, it's the high schools.
clutterbuster0828 8/24/2013 1:13:16 PM Report
Sault Major Hockey needs to change their rule ARTICLE 20 (c)
Player and Team Regulations
c) A player registered with SAULT MAJOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION INC. will not be allowed to play in an organized ice hockey league, as determined by SAULT MAJOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION INC., unless with an approved affiliated team, during the regular SAULT MAJOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION INC., hockey season **revised May 24, 2005**
They could simply revise this to state players can play in local High School Sault Ste Marie hockey league, then its up to individual schools!!
old-cat33 8/24/2013 1:34:01 PM Report
Norm:Back when you played hockey they had natural ice.....LOL.
That has a number of wierd factors to go with having your kid play in both leagues. High school hockey is free but there are not as many games or tournaments.
The calibere of hockey is faster at the high school level and the chances of your star player from AA Midget getting "rocked" stands to be a possibility. At play off time the coaches would NOT let thier ringers play up and risk injury.
So I don't think it will make that much of a differance?
D_Laity 8/24/2013 1:51:33 PM Report
You are 100% correct that the SMHA constitution reads that.
However, if you take the time to read Matt Cavaliere's article you will see that Matt Cavaliere is the SMHA president and he clearly states that SMHA approached high school with a proposal that would allow students to play both and high school said no. The constitution changes every year and the wording can change prior to this season. So what it currently states holds no value.
Matt Cavaliere is going into his second year as SMHA President and is being a forward thinker. He cannot be held responsible for what SMHA did prior to his arrival.
With that said, SMHA as an organized league had the right to that rule. The argument here is that high schools do not have the right to tell students what they can and cannot do with their own time.
coach 8/24/2013 2:16:07 PM Report
Great article everything well said, the only problem is that it is probably too late for something to happen this year, as SMHA starts their draft games the same time school starts and this all happens in a couple of weeks. I can't see highschool athletics get off the summer break to deal with this. Recruiting of young athletic students happens in every sport as kids playing Sault minor football from grade 8 are being recruited by schools and trying to lure them to attend their school, same as girls volleyball, basketball, track and so on. Seems like it's all about winning in highschool. Highschool is not free for any sports anymore, and is not cheap, and unless your one of the better athlete's you may not even play, once again because winning is more important then teaching sportsmanship and life lessons. Win at all cost and the worse you beat a team the better, beating a team by 40 points and still not playing everyone is pretty sad. A little off topic. Everyone is right about it's should be up to the kids and players to do what they want with their free time.
Newsjunkie 8/24/2013 3:17:43 PM Report
From the highschool point of view (at least that is what I was told by the High School coach) it is a question of conflicting practice icetime and tournament scheduling that is the main heart of the issue. There is more to it than simply making sure the games don't overlap. Every team in the league will have different practice times and it is impossible to ensure that none of those times will interfere with other practices or games for a variety of different players. It wouldn't be feasible to have all Korah players play on the same SMHA team, for example. The scheduling is much more complex than Mr. Caveliere seems to portray it to be. It is exactly for the reason of committment that High Schools do not allow crossover.
SandyB 8/24/2013 3:18:06 PM Report
Years ago.. you could and would play for your high school in grade 13.. because by then you had aged out of 'downtown' hockey.. and that gave them a final year of enjoyment and fun with fellow classmates.
I can understand the elite leagues wanting them not to play anywhere else, but highschool hockey has never been an elite league.. and most of the kids just want to have fun..
Oldie Goldie 8/24/2013 3:28:29 PM Report
In to-day's world many Hockey Teams---no matter where they are--do not want their players to play for another team.
That even extends into College---You can't play College Hockey and Junior A at the same time. It is one or the other.
Many teams have huge investments in their players and do not want them to play elsewhere.
I wish that High School aged players could play wherever they want after school but it is not that way in our modernized Hockey Systems where players are " drafted " into one League from as young as 8 and cannot leave that System without permission until College age or Junior age.
Then they can make a decision.
Oldie Goldie 8/24/2013 3:39:01 PM Report
Mr. Laity--Playing Sabre Cats and High School Football is not a good comparison.
Sabre Cats only play when school is out for the summer---So they can, later, play for their High School.
High School Hockey and League Hockey occur at the same time.
Berto_12 8/24/2013 4:13:28 PM Report
@Newskunkie, most other cities allow students to play both -- why is it that they can make the scheduling work but we can't make it work here in the Soo? Would it really be that difficult to say that SMHA games/practices run Tues/Thurs/Sat while high school runs Mon/Wed/Fri? As for tournaments, they're usually booked months in advance and can easily be scheduled around with enough notice.
Newsjunkie 8/24/2013 5:08:48 PM Report
We are not a big city. We don't have very many ice surfaces to choose from and a comparatively large number of hockey players per capita, being a northern town. There is much more competition for ice time here than there is in 'big cities'.
HONEST1 8/24/2013 5:59:06 PM Report
Totally agree. What a bunch of BSSS. Poor kids get so torn between having to choose Sault Major or Highschool. I really think the problem is with the teachers that coach highschool hockey. There egos are to big and think they can run a superior program the Sault Major.
Sam C 8/24/2013 7:26:18 PM Report
Gee, I'd love to hear BOTH sides of this issue, from those involved.
Berto... I've always heard people say "Just because they do it that way somewhere else doesn't mean we should do it that way here in the Sault."
I do see the point, as Newsjunkie explains, that allowing elite players to play in both leagues can create scheduling problems. If a half dozen players on a high school team are not available because they are in an elite tournament somewhere, how fair is that to the remaining players?
Andydelucs 8/24/2013 7:50:40 PM Report
What The letter doesn't say is five years ago, high school hockey approached SMHA with the same idea and Soo Major said no. Now that people see what a joke SMHA is, they are struggling with numbers resulting in kids playing high school hockey. Now it's thriving and they don't need Soo Major. What goes around comes around.
Andydelucs 8/24/2013 7:52:29 PM Report
Also, Dave, the Sabercats reference is ridiculous because it is different seasons. If SMHA looked at how football was run in this city, they might see similar success.
D_Laity 8/24/2013 8:45:14 PM Report
The whole point is that a high school cannot tell students what to do with their spare time. If a student wants to join an outside organization, they do not have the right to tell them they cannot.
Yes, SMHA had the rule. And as a recognized sports league, they had that right.
Everyone needs to be forward thinking here. Yes, SMHA is struggling, that is a fact.
What do you think is going to happen in a couple years to high school sports? Two super schools and the rest, they'll feel the pain too.
But again, the bottom line is that the schools don't have the authority to tell students what they can do outside of school. Regardless of the seasons.
And the scheduling can be done. It just takes a joint effort.
Andydelucs 8/24/2013 9:39:19 PM Report
Yes they can. Or if not, they have every right to "cut" kids who play SMHA. It's 100% their right to do that. It's like if you have someone who works at Wacky Wings and at the Canadian. If Wacky's feels that is inappropriate to have an employer who works for the competition, then by all means they can fire the worker and let them work at the Canadian. High schools, especially involving extra curricular activities, have the right to follow their own policies and students will have to live with them. Students don't like detention, but have to go. If high schools make it known they will cut kids who play SMHA, kids might not like it, but they will have to listen.
And Personally, I love it, because SMHA has done this to themselves with their "elitess, we're better then you" attitude they have had for the past 20 years.
D_Laity 8/25/2013 2:37:09 AM Report
Yes the high schools can cut the kids, but if the best players decided to play both (and they would), you and I both know that they'd change their tune in a real hurry.
And if you love it that there are players out there that are sitting in the stands, without hockey because some high school told them they had a spot... just so they wouldn't sign up for SMHA and then didn't make their high school team, then that's brutal.
Again, it comes down to my point about everyone being forward thinking. The past is just that...
sinikka 8/25/2013 8:01:48 AM Report
The rule is a joke, excuses why it does not work instead of working to make it happen. The highschool league will run into problems with the conglamoration of schools in the future . Many good athletes will not make their highschool teams and be left with nowhere to play. All we need is one child's parents willing to take the issue to court and voila the rule will be changed. In other cities civic soccer players are allowed to play highschool soccer. I have watched some highschool hockey and I have to tell you the quality of play is embarrassing. We have two organization flexing their muscles and the kids involved are the ones used as pawns. The numbers are dwindling in SMHA and having two or three teams constantly playing against each other is a joke. Work with each other and make both leagues much better.
D_Laity 8/25/2013 10:46:15 AM Report
I received this letter from another concerned hockey person.
"It's quite unfortunate that publicly funded entities such as the schools, are allowed to engage in a "recruitment" campaign against an organization such as SMHA which has provided a quality service in this community for many, many years.
The countless tournaments alone hosted by SMHA over the years have contributed greatly to this community both financially as well as athletically.
It's hard to believe that as it relates to hockey, the high schools could ever come close to matching that type of commitment, involvement and benefit to the community.
A kid wanting to play high school hockey is not new, nor is there anything wrong with it, if it's a bona fide choice made by the young person him/herself.
Unfortunately, what has been going on the last number of years in many cases suggests otherwise.
As incredible as this may sound, the high schools hold spring try out camps and then pressure the kids to make commitments to their program, most times even before the Sault Major season has ended.
If the kid resists the pressure and plays Sault Major hockey but also plays a high school sport such as football, there is continuous pressure to attend all their high school commitments at the expense of their SMHA responsibilities.
Kids have been centred out by their high school coaches for wanting to attend SMHA events over high school events.
The list of such tactics goes on and on.
At the end of the day, the player him/herself should be the one making the decisions as to where, and for whom, he or she will play, free from undue and in a lot of cases inappropriate pressures from adults who should know better.
As for playing in both leagues, there is absolutely no reason why they can't. It works in almost every other jurisdiction in both Canada and the U.S.A.
There is no need to take any of this to court. All it requires is one player to sign up for both and put the ball squarely in the high schools court. Do they really want to go down that road, of infringing on a students right to choose what they do with their time?
If this matter was truly "about the kids", it would have been resolved a long time ago."
D_Laity 8/25/2013 10:51:03 AM Report
My addition to the letter I just posted...
It has long been known the lengths and pressures the high schools have been putting on the players. I have heard promises of certain roles on the football team if a player also plays hockey. And is some circumstances, football coaches (as the seasons cross) stating that he will no suit SMHA players.
I highly doubt that the school board knows the true lengths the high school volunteer coaches are taking things to.
And to say that you are glad things are the way there are is terrible. Sault Major has done tons for this city.
Is it ideal to have players playing both. Absolutely not, but times are changing and right now it's SMHA that is feeling it. A couple years from now when the super schools take over and players have no where to play, then they'll be feeling it. So, why not work together for the better of the players and students.
Besides all it takes is one group of players to just sign up for Sault Major because Sault Major will let you play both. Challenge the schools. Registration is still open, trust me. You call Sault Major and they will take your application.
wakeup 8/25/2013 11:23:32 AM Report
Fact is they have no right in your personal life, look up rights an freedoms an then shove that up the schools hinny an if anything they could be put in a court room for such things if those who are affect take class action, i hope one day people see we need need to band together to stop these removal of freedoms by this government an its partners, this is not a democracy where all have same rights, as the rich pay their way out of anything, the police answer to only their own an keep court cases going for over many years , the courts hold no interest for the people as a whole, they do as their told an paid accordingly, geees i wish people who wake up, majority of us are poor ,, why are we letting the rich an government walk on us, if this is a so called free country, get together an make things right, what they think bullets make the difference, well all my soldier buddies would stand next to me gladly as they see even more then us do but just a few isnt enough it has to be national, stand up an make them hold to what they are accountable for
clutterbuster0828 8/25/2013 2:49:24 PM Report
Well very interesting, I am going to call the SMHA and ask if they will allow my son to play high school hockey while playing SMHA, then I will have him go to try outs at his high school and see what happens.
Outerlimit 8/27/2013 4:38:25 PM Report
I have been coaching with Sault Major for a number of years. I have no kids in hockey and haven't for a long time. My son wanted to play high school hockey at one point and tried out for the team. he did very well. The high school coach however had other thoughts. He pulled my son from the classroom to tell him that he was cutting him BUT he had some players on the team that gave him some trouble and he may call him later. Are you kidding me, was my son's response? You had your chance with me. He did not play that season because Sault Major was already into its season. He did however play in Sault Major the next season, which was his last year. High school hockey has lots of stories of these types of coaches, and I'm sure Sault Major does as well. You can't say one or the other is better but you can let the players decide if they want to play one or the other or both. NO TEACHER HAS ANY RIGHT TO TELL A STUDENT WHAT THEY DO ON THEIR TIME OFF FROM SCHOOL. How dare any one of these so called high school coaching clowns tell anyone what to do after WALKING OUT ON THE STUDENTS last year leaving them high and dry for coaches. They are an embarrassment. I'm am surprised that the students don't give them back some of their own medicine and just walk away. It was a crime what they did last year to the players of all the sports and I think they should tread lightly when telling students what they can and can't do. Sounds like some harasssment going on if you ask me. But you probably did't?
D_Laity 8/29/2013 11:20:37 AM Report
Let's not kid ourselves either. It is not all of the high schools that don't want the players playing both.
Schools like Korah, Cass, White Pines would all benefit if the players could play both. There are many players from these schools that sign up for SMHA because they know they can't win in the highschool league. These highschool teams would actually be stronger in a league where players could play both.
I ENCOURAGE ALL STUDENT HOCKEY PLAYERS FROM THESE SCHOOLS TO CALL SAULT MAJOR AND SIGN UP... THEN GO TRYOUT FOR YOUR SCHOOL HOCKEY TEAMS!!!!
Outerlimit 8/29/2013 6:32:35 PM Report
I agree with D Laity's comments. Sign up for both. Any teachers that give you grief, remind them of how they bailed on you last year.