As we begin the 2018-19 hockey season our Annual General Meeting provides us the opportunity to reflect on the season we’ve just completed and give thought to our goals and objectives for the one ahead.
The 2017-18 season was replete with success on the ice and in our community. Players of all ages developed a love of the game and in some cases, especially with our senior players, reacquainted themselves with that love. The TLGHA prides itself on offering programs at every level and for girls and women of almost any age. Players as young as three enjoy our fundamentals programs, and women of all ages participate in our Senior Learn to Play, House League, and Competitive teams. At a total of 1600+ members, the TLGHA is the largest female hockey association in the province.
None of this is possible without the tireless work of 100’s of volunteers. Ranging from coaches and assistant coaches; to trainers, managers, treasurers and our directors and officers, every one of these individuals gives their time and energy to ensure the TLGHA delivers programs consistent with the values of our organization: to foster a lifelong love of sport and healthy active living while encouraging women and girls to develop leadership skills through and in hockey. My sincere thanks to every one of these individuals and thanks to the members of our board with whom I have worked so closely this past season.
Looking to the season ahead, this will be the first season that we begin the Hockey Canada half-ice initiation program for our minor-novice players. Working with our neighbours at the LHA we have purchased specialized half-ice rink boards to allow our youngest players to develop their skills in a smaller area. The proven benefits of half-ice hockey include more stops and starts, more changes of direction, more passes, more shots, more saves. All of this equals more engagement of players and better skill development. We cannot wait to see this program in action!
In addition to the new half-ice program, we are excited to have Scotiabank sponsoring the third season of our Introduction to Hockey – an initiation-level program for older girls who did not begin hockey at the traditional 5/6 years of age. AND new this year, Scotiabank’s sponsorship will also support a reimbursement program for young women who become referees for the first time and make a commitment to reffing in our house-league programs. We believe this book-ended approach will encourage older girls to start hockey and stay in hockey.
Our sponsors are critical to the association being able to keep the cost of hockey affordable for our members. No easy task in the City of Toronto where ice rates are among the highest in the country. Please see our website for a complete listing of sponsors, many of whom are local businesses. It would be wonderful to see our members supporting those organizations who in turn support us. Our website also has resources on managing the cost of hockey through bursary and grant programs offered by various organizations around the country. We do not want the cost of hockey to be a barrier to entry for families.
As I write this it is a stunningly beautiful fall day: we have teams in tournaments this weekend and our house league rosters are getting set and players getting ready to hit the ice in a week. It is truly the best time of year full of hope and promise for the season ahead: wins, losses, new friendships, and a blossoming love of the game. This is my last fall as President of the TLGHA and as such my last President’s Message. It has been an honour to represent this organization for so many years, not only as its president but as a volunteer for over 16 seasons. I am proud of all that we have accomplished in that time and I know that our incoming board and volunteers will do a superb job taking the organization forward in seasons ahead.
Jennifer Smith, President TLGHA
September 17, 2018