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MHC Update on Rink Operations and COVID-19, 29 March 2020

Hello Shark Families,

                The operating status of Shark programs and activities remains unchanged. All spring programs remain in a postponed status. 

The Meramec Sharks golf tournament, normally held in late spring, will not take place. We are considering potential dates for that fundraiser in the fall. 

No definitive decisions have been made regarding when our hockey activities will resume.  Decisions concerning MHC’s operating status is dependent on the orders and guidance put in place because of the Corona Virus and social distancing efforts. Ideally, we hope to run our spring programs in their entirety. We recognize that modifications may be necessary, and we will consider these as more information becomes available. 

Please stay safe and healthy!

 

Larry Borkowski

President, MHC

 

MHC Update, COVID-19 and Rink Operations, 22 March 2020

Hello Shark Families,

One week ago, we made the decision to suspend MHC Hockey Operations for two weeks. All MHC programs and activities remain suspended. This suspension is further extended until at least April 22, 2020. 

In the last week, the situation created by efforts to control the spread of the Corona Virus made it clear that our pause would be longer than we originally hoped. We will continue to monitor new developments and advise you of our operating status. We have not definitively cancelled any of our planned activities, instead, all spring programs are currently in a postponed status. Additionally, our rink staff has been present conducting deep cleaning as well as making improvements to the rink. You can expect another update on MHC’s status in a week, potentially sooner if there is a major change. 

The crisis created by this virus is effecting all of us. While we are all anxious to resume hockey, MHC will remain compliant with all mandated guidelines and we will stay consistent with the intent of these guidelines and the community efforts to enforce social distancing. On behalf of your Board of Directors I want to thank all of you for your patience and understanding. Please take care, and stay well. 

Thanks again,

Larry Borkowski

President, MHC

MHC Central States Division Announcement 

 

MOHockey has voted to change the structure of AA Hockey.

Missouri Hockey has voted in favor of changing the structure of the AA Division for the Pee Wee and Bantam age groups.  This vote represents the culmination of a coordinated effort and our Club was represented in the process. It is important to note that this plan is not completely finalized.  The Central States League must still vote and accept this way forward.  This plan will be detailed to the Central States League by early next week for their approval. The purpose of this note is to inform you of the intent of this potential action and summarize the changes it entails for our Club and players.

 

The AA environment in Missouri was not healthy.

For several years, MOHockey provided a Tier II AA Division at the Squirt thru Midget age groups, while several Clubs in the area also provided Tier II AA teams that competed outside of the MOHockey division in the Central States League.  Unfortunately, there were noticeable consequences resulting from the number of AA Teams.  MOHockey expressed concerns that AA skill was spread too thin, based on the performance of both MOHockey AA teams in tournament play as well as the performance of the St. Louis based Central States teams in the Central States league.  Worse, the number of teams, and the fact that the CS teams were run by Clubs in a manner independent of MOHockey lead to Clubs, including Meramec, losing players to other Clubs that participated in Central States.  Recruiting, and working around the registration processes became prevalent; creating an environment that was counterproductive to MoHockey families and players  

 

Consolidating MOHockey AA into inclusive Central States teams resolves issues.

MOHockey will provide a governing body for the St. Louis area teams that compete in the Central States Tier II AA league.  The agreement in place is for a two-year pilot program that enables MOHockey to enter three (3) AA teams at the Pee Wee and Bantam age levels. These teams will complete in the 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 birth year groups.   The teams for each birth year group will be fairly drawn from fencing the combination of current Club zip codes.  This fencing will be strictly enforced, with few exceptions.  

 

The fencing structure is expected to provide the most optimal distribution of skill, and the strict adherence to the structure prevents Clubs from losing players.  Narrowing the number of AA teams will provide a higher level of skilled play at the AA level, while also allowing higher levels of play at the respective Club levels as part of MOHockey Travel and House Divisions. 

 

Beginning in the upcoming 2020-2021 Fall season, the respective birth year teams from the three Central States fenced groups will represent MOHockey’s AA Division for Pee Wee and Bantam  and will participate in the Blue Note Cup Playoffs.  There will no longer be a separate Tier II MOHockey AA Division for Pee Wee and Bantam.  A1 will be the highest MOHockey level now at Pee Wee and Bantam.  MOHockey will continue to have a AA Division for Squirt players.  However, no Club will be allowed to enter Squirt teams in Central States play.  Additionally, there will be no changes to the Midget AA structure.  For Midgets, there will be Open District teams competing in the Central States AA League and separate Open District AA teams competing in the MoHockey League.   

 

This change will have impacts on MHC.

There will be many positive impacts due to this change.  MHC will retain more of our players and will be able to provide a path to Tier I AAA level hockey through our Club.  Players will not have to leave MHC to pursue a high level of play.  This will also create a higher skill level of play amongst the players remaining in MHC programs.  Our Shark AA players will not be playing for another Club.  The AA Central States team for Shark players will be new – and will draw from the zip codes of MHC, Affton, and Southern Illinois.   Representatives from Affton, Southern Illinois, and MHC will form a Committee that will govern these four new teams and share resources, to include ice times and coaching staffs.  The team name and uniform will be new, and not look like any of the existing Affton, Southern Illinois and MHC Club uniforms.   Travel will be decided by each team. But league play will take place with Chicago based teams, and teams may expect to travel to Chicago 4-6 times for league games.  Other tournaments will be decided individually by teams.   

 

In closing:

This transition will likely not be perfect, which is expected when an organization and group of organizations move a program in a different direction.  In many cases, we will learn lessons as we go, and have to apply those lessons learned.  This change of direction is favorable from a development perspective, and over time will provide opportunities for the highest skilled players, and more competitive hockey with higher skill levels in all MOHockey divisions.  The MHC Board will maintain a high level of involvement in this new way forward and ensure the fairest environment for our Club. We will provide more information to our MHC members as specific details about the Central States AA team are developed.

 

Please direct all questions to Don Arias, MHC Director of Player Development, at playerdevelopment@meramecsharks.com

 

Thank you,

                  Larry Borkowski

                  President, MHC

 

Letter from MHC President concerning COVID-19 and Rink Operations

** Corona Virus Update #4

Hello Shark Families ,

On behalf of your Board of Directors, I want to advise you of a change to MHC programs and activities. Starting on Monday, March 16th, MHC will suspend all programs and on-ice activities for a two week period.

There were many factors that infuenced this decision, and I will highlight some of them. Shark Week for our 6U/8U players and families was scheduled for the upcoming week, as was the start of our spring programs. We hoped that we could alter our Shark Week activities in a way that would allow us to safely continue the activites. This effort to modify Shark Week activities, and potentially minimize the number of participants at the rink was well intended, but proved to create an event that actually contradicted the reason we have Shark Week. Shark Week is intended to be family oriented. It is intended for maximum participation, and enjoyment for entire hockey families. While modifications may have enabled compliance with the County group gathering guidance, it stripped away what makes the events that comprise Shark Week memorable. 

With regard to our spring programs, the high degree of uncertainty of what lies ahead in the upcoming weeks factored in greatly. Each day is marked by changes that are intended to create an environment of social distancing. It is truly not clear what restrictions or guidance lie ahead. MHC is at a time on our calendar that we have a definitive break between our fall and spring programs. With many indications suggesting the very strong possibility of the need to suspend operations at some point in the near future, taking advantage of this change in schedules enables us to take a pause very cleanly, with the most flexibility and options when we resume operations.

I want to emphasize that this is a pause in operations. It is not a permanent stoppage, nor have we definitively cancelled any particular activity. Our intention will be to resume our programs and activities as soon as it is prudent and feasible. We will also do our best to re-schedule suspended activities, and run the duration of our planned spring programs in their entirety - if it is possible to do so. 

Your Board of Directors will work together to determine the best way forward for our hockey programs and activites, as well as determining the appropriate time to resume operations. There are many unknowns that complicate this decision making. The safety of our players and families is our priority. Also critical is our role in the community, and our wilingness to support the policies and ongoing efforts to curb the potential spread of the virus with social distancing. Your support and cooperation will be critical as we move forward. While I will not be providing a daily update, you can expect communication within a week regarding the progress we are making with the planning effort, as well as any other factors that may be pertinent to resuming operations. 

Thank you,

Larry Borkowski
President, MHC

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