Changes for this coming 2018-2019 hockey season
You may or may not have heard that there are some pretty drastic changes occurring in our hockey league. We sent out emails in June regarding these changes. The Lizard Head Hockey Board has been working very hard behind the scenes in regards to these changes however before rumors overrun the hockey community we wanted to reach out and share with you what has occurred and what we see for the Bantam team next season, 2018-2019.
Some of you may recall that when our older kids started Hockey as mites we were part of the RMYHL (Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League) a smaller league with smaller associations, most with part-time ice. Due to several events, Grand Junction losing their ice, Gunnison and Crested Butte joining the CDYHL, our growing numbers and success, the smaller RMYHL league began to change and Telluride joined the larger CDYHL league and the RMYHL dissolved with most of the remaining Colorado clubs joining the CDYHL. For the last handful of years, we have been a part of the CDYHL with the following mountain communities: Vail, Aspen, Glenwood, Steamboat, Summit, West Elk, Durango, Grand Junction (back after their rink was fixed) and Craig.
In the last few months since the hockey season wrapped up several things have been changing. The largest clubs in our league, the “Big 5”: Aspen, Glenwood, Vail, Steamboat & Summit (with Aspen leading the charge) made a play to try and join the CCYHL (eastern slope/Denver league).
Due to the Big 5’s decision to try and move leagues without consulting any of the other teams the interpretation was that they behaved in a highly unprofessional and deceptive manner. Telluride found out only because members of one of these organizations felt this approach was wrong and leaked the information.
Honestly, their decision to make this move did involve some politics. We have noticed frustrations from these larger organizations with the smaller organizations, including Telluride, that can struggle with the strict double roster rules that exist in the CDYHL.
As soon as we learned of this potential change Telluride and West Elk worked together to learn, communicate with all teams and try to mitigate potential changes that would impact our clubs. These Big 5 teams were not accepted to the CCYHL, however, Aspen and Glenwood determined that they will create their own league separate from the CDYHL. Telluride and West Elk worked with Summit and Steamboat to try for a compromise that would be more inclusive. Telluride’s board repeatedly spoke with Summit, Steamboat, and Vail, however, we were not able to convince the majority of these larger teams to be more inclusive and Aspen and Glenwood were successful in talking the other large clubs into joining their new league.
Summit and Steamboat have assured us they will continue to play our teams and work on creating bylaws that will allow for expansion in this new league. Only time will tell.
Although this outcome is not what we ideally wanted we do see some positives for many of our skaters. At the younger ages with this smaller league we have the chance for some of our B teams to play more competitively with less travel, yet still some great game opportunities. With less travel, this will provide an opportunity for kids to skate and ski!
For the Peewee A and Squirt A teams, we are looking at an interesting but fun season as a hybrid of a conventional/tournament team that will play a variety of games against teams in our league with A teams, friendlies with out of league A teams and Tournaments! We will have tryouts and work on this structure. We are committed to making this structure work and therefore any additional expense for tournaments will be absorbed by the Club.
For our Bantam team, you may recall when this group was a Peewee team we petitioned for them to play as a Peewee B team and this was a wise fit. If the league had not changed we would have been forced to play at the A level. With smaller numbers and a young team, this would have been extremely difficult for the 2018-2019 season. With the new structure we have the ability to be more flexible and have our Bantam team play at the B level against clubs that have Bantam B teams and we are looking to integrate the Bantam team with our High School program by creating some good opportunities at the JV level.
This Bantam program will become a hybrid Bantam/JV program that will be a more unified program with Grayson overseeing both and creating a nice balance with B level play in the CDYHL and JV play in the New Mexico (Rio Grande) High School Hockey League. For skaters eager to skate more and of the appropriate age (8th grade and up) they will have the opportunity to skate in both Bantam B games and JV games or for those who are just looking to stay in the game they can elect to play more specifically just Bantam B games.
This is a lot of information, so after your review please feel free to contact any board member with questions or concerns.
We are looking forward to a successful 2018-2019 season and will continue to work hard to ensure that we create a strong and positive experience and environment for all our skaters.
Our goal is to continue to grow and strengthen our skaters, club and hockey teams! Our objective is to create great community members that are also great hockey players and show the rest of Colorado what Telluride Hockey can really do!!