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Call to abandon unnecessary and problematic changes to CAHA Tier 2 rules For 2017-2018

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The CAHA board announced the following proposed changes for Tier2 (AA) teams to commence for the 2017-2018 season:

In a continual effort to improve our league the CAHA Board of Directors appointed a special Tier Committee to assess the Tier II (AA) division in hopes of improving competitiveness and address ongoing concerns of our membership. Based on their recent proposal, the CAHA Board of Directors voted in favor of the below changes Tier II for the 2017/2018 season.

All teams that wish to declare 12u, 14u or 16u Tier II (AA) must attend the CAHA Labor Day Jamboree in San Jose, CA September 1-4, 2017. Teams may also be required to participate in 2 weeks of local ‘pre-season’ games. Following evaluations teams will be placed accordingly as follows:
1. Placed in top flight of division
2. Placed in bottom flight of division
3. Removed from the Tier II division (dropped to "A")

All teams shall play each team within their respective flight during CAHA mandated weekends.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the 1st place team in the top flight will automatically advance to State Championships. Playdowns will include the 2nd - 8th place teams in the top flight. The top team in the bottom flight will have a chance to compete for the final playdown spot.

Additional details will be available following the June CAHA Board of Directors meeting.

Ostensibly, there is a concern within the CAHA Board about competitiveness of Tier 2 participants that requires drastic changes to the existing system.

We the signatories of this petition do not agree that the proposed changes will improve or address important problems with the CAHA Tier2 system.

  • Specifically we are concerned that these changes will suppress participation by the smaller regional clubs who are not in a position to field teams with the same level of player continuity as larger clubs. The proposed system favors teams that have the same basic coaches and rosters over multiple prior seasons, often with tournament play over the spring and summer that provides them an advantage in the pre-season over other teams that are often not of the same birth year or have not played together en masse previously.
  • The proposed rules contain unusual provisions (First place playdown bye) that have nothing to do with overall level of competition.
  • The proposed rules include a convoluted and experimental system that segments Tier2 in a way that is unprecedented, and appears to punish teams in the lower tier by limiting CAHA competition and playoff opportunity.
  • With 5 divisions available (AAA, AA, A, BB, B) for youth hockey, there are already ample opportunities for clubs to find a good fit for a particular group of players, and splitting Tier2 isn't going to improve what is already a highly segmented system.
  • Parent feedback from 2016-2017 involved significant questioning of the reduction of CAHA weekends, to the point that CAHA reversed the rule. A segmented system will reduce games for a number of teams, and this is exactly the complaint that lead to the reversal from 2016-2017.
  • In 2016-2017 more teams dropped down from Tier 2 (and subsequently involved drops in the lower Divisions of SCAHA) than in any recent season. It must be noted that CAHA refused the request of a Tier2 Peewee team to drop from CAHA. Tier 1 has had significant issues even with a small number of birth year teams in each division. CAHA has not demonstrated that it can guarantee Tier 1 uniformity of competition.
  • There are and have been ways for teams to ascertain whether they are able to field a competitive team at a particular level using pre-season tournaments and games.

In conclusion, CAHA's concern in regards to the overall level of competitiveness is out of step with the message coming from USA Hockey, as delivered to coaches in its certification and education system.

The primary concern for USA Hockey is that of development of young hockey players which acknowledges and is oriented towards individual player development relevant and appropriate for its participants at each age group.

CAHA is sending a message that the only thing that is important for competitive youth hockey is wins and losses at the earliest point in a season, and that message is out of step with both the research that lead to ADM and the rest of USA Hockey in general.

Furthermore, we believe that CAHA and its member clubs can and should work through any issues with particular teams via the provisions and rules that already existed prior to these proposed changes.

We ask that the CAHA board drop the proposed Tier 2 changes, and if this continues to be of major concern, that it come up with a system that fits and supports continuity across both Tier 1 and Tier 2.

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