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EIHA/REC possible changes

Lester on 05th Apr '20 @ 18:07
An open letter from Recreational section Chairman

Dear Hockey Friends
I hope you are all well in these extraordinary times. Whilst rinks are closed and there is no hockey being played, the sport continues to develop behind the scenes.

Therefore I am asking for your input to assist us in how you wish to move the sport forward. Next week I will be taking part in a video conference call to once again discuss the option of becoming one governing body. Though this item has failed to get the necessary support on two past occasions it is being brought to the table again without as far as I can see any changes.

It seems the EIHA board are moving this forward without the required mandate. As a successful business owner we always have a plan B, on some days this can extend to plan F, however it appears that there is no plan B on this occasion which concerns me a little.

Having looked through the articles of the new company and the projected way forward (which I am happy to provide a copy of) I personally have some reservations. Leaving aside the money and payments plus pensions that will be provided to the companies CEO and Directors, there are many things that the Rec Section will be not able to have a say in.

Over the past years the Rec Section though having no representation on the Board has been left to its own devices and proved to be quite successful. It is without doubt the base of the pyramid and contributes the most financially. Approximately half the income to the sport comes from this section yet it only takes 20%of the total pie to operate.

Originally Rec was an independent arm of the sport affiliated to the BIHA and had a major input into forming the then new Ice Hockey UK organization. It amalgamated with the EIHA at that time with the understanding that the EIHA leagues at all levels would operate from September 1st to March 31st with Rec having the summer months. You can all see where we are today with that as the EIHA board welched on the original deal. Not having an elected seat on the board no doubt made this easier to be passed through.

My worry is under a new set up we will be pushed further into the ground. In all the discussions about moving forward the Rec Executive turned up at every meeting to put forward the sections views,(described by one EIHA Director as coming mob handed) as with over 25% of the EIHAs overall membership we thought it only right that we had a say on your behalf.

What may surprise you as up until this coming meeting nobody from the board has talked to the Rec executive about what they would like to happen moving forward.

Don’t get me wrong they do want Rec to be part of the new set up but possibly not for the right reason.
Quite simply we are a cash cow. If the new body needs to raise funds the first option is always the personal membership and with 40% of that we are an immediate target. Worryingly we will have no say in how much that will be, not a lot of people realize that in the present system we can reject or amend the EIHA board’s decision on our membership fees, one of the pluses of our section having democratic elections and yes we have done it in the past.

Do we have a plan B, well yes we do. Those persons at the section AGM will have heard me suggest becoming a standalone group.

It’s not an impossible move as the Referees section have already done it as they are now affiliated to Ice Hockey UK and those in the know will appreciate what a successful organization it now is.
Also some teams in Scotland already do this whilst in Europe and America it’s the norm.

So how would it work? Quite simply we would ask the present teams to meet and form a new association. Again nothing unusual just take a look at skiing. We would establish a new committee and approach whoever is the National governing body to pay an affiliation fee to them.

So what are the advantages of this bold move?
1 We would control our own destiny and have total control of all our own finances.
2 It would be a cheaper option for our membership
3 We would be able to negotiate with Ice Rinks to get the best deal for our members, believe me the majority of whom are only interested in ice hire.

Obviously there are people who are going to look at the disadvantages.
1 Insurance We have insurance brokers in our numbers and what company is going to turn down a potential 40K account
2 Registration We already do that in house and that could be easily transferred
3 Not all the teams may move and those that stay may face restrictions on who they can play, this is Recreational ice hockey that would be a major issue for any person who tried to block a team playing. Our equivalent in football is mates meeting up to play five a side
4 Referees I deliberately left this one to last. We have over the past years managed to get referees to our games, though we all know that we are still the bottom of the pile and by many refs treated with distain. Joining the national governing body would potentially alleviate this problem as the referees are under their control and part of our agreed affiliation costs would be for the provision of officials. A comparison is the Elite league that has a service level agreement in place. That could be a similar deal for Rec. Also note all officials are self employed and as my business deals with a lot of people in that area I know the penalties for restriction of trade.

So I have laid out what I personally see as the options, what I need now is feedback from the clubs in a confidential way. Your opinions do matter and would like to be in a position to give them in the forthcoming meeting.

I am not suggesting one or other of the options that is where your input counts.

Therefore I am asking teams to contact me as soon as possible either by e mail or by telephone; every contact will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Lester on 05th Apr '20 @ 18:10
I had a long chat with the author, Tony Boynton about this.
He wants our feedback as clubs.
Geoff Butterfield on 06th Apr '20 @ 12:27
Hi Lester,

How would you like us to feedback to you as a club on this?
Lester on 13th Apr '20 @ 13:02
Yes, as a club
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EIHA/REC possible changes

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