Local minor hockey teams forced to play against higher level teams
Two teams, Shawville’s Lions M13C and M11C, in the Shawville District Minor Hockey Association (SDMHA) are being forced to play at the B level in the playoffs despite having been changed to a C level team throughout the season, a process called derogation. President of the SDMHA, Craig McCormick, says for many years the rule was that teams that were derogated down the C were only bumped up to B levels for playoffs if they were in the top three during the season. Before derogating, the team played the first two games of the season in B to test and lost 19-0 and 21-1.
Additionally, McCormick explains that hockey associations are required to create A and B teams first before creating a C level team. “This becomes difficult for smaller associations that have a smaller talent pool to create teams from. This leads to many kids being put in levels above their playing capacity.”
McCormick and concerned parent of a child of the M13C team, Sherry-Lynn Daley, say Hockey Outaouais’ reiterated the “top 3” rule to the association in December through email. Later in January, they contradicted this rule saying that despite the team not making the top three they will be bumped up to the B for playoffs regardless, citing that this was a Hockey Quebec rule.
“I feel that this methodology is seriously flawed and should be revisited for small communities such as ours,” said Daley “As a concerned parent, this decision is unfathomable.”
“If teams play regionally, such as the playoffs, they must play at the B level. This was alway the case, there has been no changes to the rules,” said Dave Leclerc, director of management and officials at Hockey Quebec.
“The kids that are playing above their level are feeling discouraged, disappointed, and not having fun playing their sport. They are all losing all their games because they are unable to keep up with the B teams they are playing against,” said Daley. “It is important that teams are matched out fairly. So that all kids, no matter their skill level, can enjoy playing hockey.”
McCormick echoes Daley’s statement saying that some kids are thinking of quitting. “We are concerned about the kids, that is our main priority, ensuring the kids are having fun and enjoying the sport.”
McCormick and Daley say in their correspondence with Hockey Outoauais and Hockey Quebec they have yet to give a reason this rule is necessary.
“We allowed them into the C level so they could have a nice season but there are provincial, not regional, regulations that teams participating in playoffs must be played at a B level,” said Pierre Montreuil, president of Hockey Outaouais. According to Montreuil, six teams were derogated to the C level, and the Shawville team is upset. “We are obligated to follow the rules. To avoid big losses, the team can decide to not go to the playoffs. Mineur hockey is to develop the players, instead of focusing on winning like the Shawville team.”
Photo: The Shawville Lions hockey team logo
Photo Courtesy of Shawville District Minor Hockey Association (SDMHA)