Dear Members,

As another hockey season ends and we look into the future of our hockey association we must stop for a moment to congratulate everyone with a proverbial pat on the back. We have returned from the COVID Pandemic with vigor and a future that looks very bright. This could not have been achieved without the tireless work of our volunteers. Over the last season our coaches, managers, assistants, trainers and last but most definitely not least our Board rose to the occasion and created an atmosphere where our members could strive and return to the normalcy, we all desperately yearned for.

The road did not come without it’s bumps and at times cliffs but as we grow as an association and bring new blood into our leadership positions, we must continue to learn to accept these difficult times as what they are. That is, that they are simply opportunities for us to lean on one another based on relationships we’ve build to be better for our association and those we serve in the future.

While we welcome new faces to our Board of Directors tonight, we would be remised if we didn’t recognize those who are leaving that have left their mark and provided years of selfless service to the RMHA and its members. Thank you to our outgoing Director of Equipment, Ray Clavette. Thank you to Matt Dickie on heading up our house league during and all the way through a very difficult time and leaving it in great shape. Thank you to our Past President, Yves Roy who will likely continue to be a part of us in some facet as a board member or coach in our association. Thank you to Peggy Carkner who spent years volunteering for the board in multiple positions and continues to help where needed, most of the time capturing Warrior images with her camera. Thank you to Peggy Marchessault who has served in multiple positions on the board and most recently as a convenor for the last several seasons. Also, thank you to Geoff Streib, Shelley Nolan, Chris Brown, Kerry Hall, Michelle Rogers, Marty Pascoe, and Mike Johnson; all have spent time on our board and generously served our members. Finally, a very sincere thank you to Ken Hill who is retiring from his role as VP; Competitive. Ken spent many years being the spearhead for our competitive program and was instrumental in creating the new Castor River Canucks program. He’s spent his time helping to develop and write our constitution and by-laws to which we are governed today. Ken your efforts will undoubtedly be missed but please leave knowing that what you have started will not falter under new hands but rather be continued with the same ferocity that you showed during your tenure. If I missed anyone, I sincerely apologize but know that you all matter.

The 2022/23 Season presented some very exciting points through the season. Our U7 program registered more players than we have had in recent memory which speaks very well for our future. Our U15A and U15B1 team both brought home GHA Championships that will hang in the arena for all to see. Several teams from house league and competitive brought home tournament wins. Numerous teams banded together and took over a tournament in Barrie where Warrior chants echoed through the arena, in an extremely memorable trip. We once again hosted our two tournaments and the IP Fun Day returned all with great success, special thanks to Angela Oickle, Ryan Licari and Devon Kunkel for this and as well to all who stepped up to volunteer for those weekends. And the U14 Leitrim hosted team which featured players and coaches from the Castor River Canucks won their league and multiple tournaments. Our association numbers continue to grow with Amanda Nixon returning as our Registrar to do the amazing work she’s done to keep our association organized. As we move forward, we are presented with exciting opportunities for growth and a more meaningful relationship with our members. We have spoke about bringing more community to our association and while we have started to lay that groundwork, we have plenty more to do but will have the hands and minds of this board to do it.

We have already set into motion some meaningful changes for the 2023/24 season beginning with our new VP, House League, Jon Gillard, who has taken the reigns on re-vamping our evaluation systems for our teams. The process will come with greater communication and consistency that we have been able to offer in the past. Our Equipment Department will have a new leader and we look forward to seeing fresh ideas from there. Our competitive program will also have a fresh face and will be fortunate to work with a veteran board member from Metcalfe, Julia Tuff, to be able to continue that programs success.

During this summer, members of the GHA and the D9RA will converse to seek ways to further develop tools to create better relationships between referees and bench staff’s, our returning Director of Discipline, Josh Nixon will be well in the loop of those meetings. We have many ideas for new events and more traditions in the upcoming year and those that follow. More to come on this as we inch closer to the new season.

This machine cannot operate without the help of its volunteers, and we need more of you. If you’ve thought about pitching in here or there or have idea’s that you think would make our association better, I urge you to speak up, be present and help make this program the best it can be for our kids. We value your membership and want you to own a part of it as well. This board has worked hard to become open-minded and have had extremely productive meetings with each other over the last year. We want to get to a point where we are forming committees to aid the board with new programs and ideas, so it doesn’t fall on one person to do the leg work. This can only be done with you, our members.

Finally, a very heartfelt thank you to all the board. This association simply doesn’t run without your efforts, and while it seems so thankless at times, I want to say that on behalf of all our kids, their families, our coaches, and staff and all else who enjoyed some part of the RMHA this last year, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Yours in hockey,

Joey Abrams
RMHA – Home of the Russell Warriors & Castor Canucks