Ottawa

Ottawa minor hockey club says it's being silenced on rules and fee issues by provincial body

The president of the Nepean Minor Hockey Association says the group overseeing hockey in eastern Ontario has taken away its decision-making powers over rules and fees.

Nepean Minor Hockey Association appealing decision to Hockey Canada

Greg Clarke, the president of the Nepean Minor Hockey Association, says changes to decision making over fees and rules were made without consultation. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

An Ottawa minor hockey association says the group overseeing hockey in eastern Ontario has taken away its decision-making powers over rules and fees.

Nepean Minor Hockey Association president Greg Clarke said the group got a letter from Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) in late May telling them there would no longer be an elected minor hockey representative on its board.

Clarke said that means 32,000 minor hockey coaches and players would no longer have a say over rules and how the fees it pays per participant — $14 and rising — are spent.

"[Before] it was done in an environment where each one of the districts had a vote and that vote carried forward to our executive. That was how we got things done," Clarke said.

"Now we don't have a vote under this new proposal. We're an advisory body and HEO is the one that has the authority to make all the decisions."

Appeal underway

Clarke's association has appealed the decision to Hockey Canada, which runs minor hockey across the country, to see if it can help the two sides solve their dispute.

"I've got 2,700 kids. Some are very top-level. Some are rookies. The point is they all get to play the game at a level that's appropriate for them," Clarke said.

"If someone is going to not give us a voice on how those things are structured, it makes it very difficult for me to do my job."

HEO president Ron McRostie said in an email he couldn't share his group's position on these issues until the appeal process is done.

In the May 24 letter to the minor hockey league, McRostie wrote the changes would improve HEO's structure to better serve all levels of hockey and to dedicate fewer dollars to administration and more to grassroots hockey.