St. Albert Minor Hockey Association (SAMHA) has recently made some updates to our organizational structure with the St. Albert Raiders Hockey Club, and we wanted to share these changes with you.
You may be aware of an article recently published in the Gazette that highlighted some of the challenges the Raiders Hockey Club and the St. Albert Minor Hockey Association have faced over the past several years. The recent changes we made to improve transparency are a step in the right direction, however we feel that more needs to be done. Our current structure with the Raiders Hockey Club limits SAMHA’s ability to implement change.
The SAMHA Board of Directors reviewed the current structure and has developed a more cohesive way forward that provides SAMHA with a higher degree of oversight. SAMHA will expand the Executive Committee composition to include a new position, VP of Raiders Hockey Club. The VP will be responsible for overseeing the Raiders Hockey Club Committee. This committee will be a sub-committee of SAMHA, and work to support the operations of AAA and AA hockey in St. Albert. We anticipate this transition to take place over the next two months.
To our players and coaches, you will not notice any immediate changes. The Raiders Hockey Club will remain operational, and all named coaches will remain in place.
We are hopeful the leadership within the Raiders Hockey Club society will support this change and we can work together to ensure the program is adequately supported. This change is not intended to disrupt hockey operations.
Over time you will start to notice some changes:
- Standards of conduct documents for all players, coaches, and parents
- Improved communication
- Consistent application of process
- More structure in the coach selection process
SAMHA has always administered player registration, ice allocation, and some aspects of the program management (enhancement camps, permit requests, etc.)
Other operational tasks will be assumed by the Raiders Hockey Club (RHC) Committee, which will operate as a committee within the SAMHA Board. These tasks will include coach selection, tryouts, equipment management, player movement, and the John Reid Tournament.
Currently, Raiders players pay a SAMHA admin fee and a Raiders admin fee. There is a duplication of administrative functions and operating as one organization will therefore reduce administrative costs and time. Raiders players will no longer pay a Raiders Admin fee and will only pay a SAMHA fee.
This change provides SAMHA with more oversight to ensure the program is operating within guidelines, policies, and processes defined by SAMHA and the standards of our governing bodies Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada.
Recent events have revealed an unacceptable level of risk and expense for SAMHA and we are no longer confident that the current structure can adequately mitigate this risk and provide the transparency needed to regain the trust of our membership.
To participate in Hockey Alberta sanctioned activities such as games or tournaments, all players must belong to a recognized Minor Hockey Association (MHA). SAMHA is recognized by Hockey Alberta as the local MHA in the Hockey Alberta regional zones for Minor Hockey, AA and Elite hockey. Therefore Hockey Alberta classifies all Raiders Hockey Club players and coaches as members of SAMHA and does not formally recognize the Raiders Hockey Club as a member of Hockey Alberta.
This structure has existed since 1980, and over time has evolved. About 14 years ago the Raiders Hockey Club formed a separate society and Board of Directors due to challenges in the operation of competitive hockey under SAMHA leadership at that time.
Over the years SAMHA and SARHC had a precarious relationship while attempting to work collaboratively. This working relationship was built based on a mutual understanding that the best-interests of players and coaches are at the forefront of all decisions. Unfortunately, the philosophies of each group were at times not aligned.
In 2019 SAMHA initiated the process to formally define the relationship and responsibilities of each organization. In April 2021, the SARHC and SAMHA signed a Collaboration Agreement; this policy formalized operational functions and responsibilities.
The SAMHA Board of Directors believes that the terms outlined in the aforementioned Collaboration Agreement have not been adhered to. Additionally, a series of incidents over the past five years have uncovered an unacceptable level of risk and expense for SAMHA and its members.
This has prompted the SAMHA Board of Directors to review the current structure and develop a more cohesive way forward that provides SAMHA with a higher degree of oversight. SAMHA will expand the Executive Committee composition to include a new position, VP of Raiders Hockey Club. The VP will be responsible for overseeing the Raiders Hockey Club Committee. This committee will be a sub-committee of SAMHA, and work to support the operations of AAA and AA hockey in St. Albert.
Throughout this process we have sought advice from our legal counsel and have engaged with other Clubs and MHA’s throughout the province to identify effective structures and best-practices. We have spoken extensively with Hockey Alberta to receive guidance and ensure we have their support through this transitional period.
It is our hope that through this transition, the Raiders Hockey Club and SAMHA will work collaboratively to form and support the program. The Raiders Hockey Club is a vital part of our community and over the past 15 years dedicated volunteers committed countless hours to build the program. The direction of this newly formed committee will be to support the long-term growth and development of competitive hockey in our community, while developing policies and process that support the core values of SAMHA and its membership.
SAMHA remains committed to ensuring we operate with transparency, integrity and that we are responsive to our members. We support a more structured and consistent hockey experience and believe these changes will help to attract players and strong leaders to our program(s).
If you have any questions regarding these changes or our program, please contact us.
Shauna Hudec - President