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Want to play Rep for the Oakville Rangers next year? This is what you need to know!
Submitted By Team Admin on Thursday, March 02, 2017

Greetings RangersNation!

This past weekend, the Rep Coach Selection process for 2017/2018 largely wrapped up (just a couple selections left).  I would like to congratulate and thank the Coach Selection Committees for running a very thorough and fair selection process.  Of course, there are applicants, parents and players who may not be happy with some of the choices but that goes with the territory.

What I can tell you is that we instituted a new online Parent Survey to assess current coaches and that we had over 500 families out of approximately 670 fill out the survey. Thank-you! Your feedback is important and was utilized in the selection process. Also, Selection Committee members, who were also Coaching Mentors and the 2 VPs of Rep attended practices and games for all teams to make field evaluations on prospective coaches. This year, we also actively recruited new coaches with mixed results but the word is out that Oakville is looking for great coaches because that is where excellence begins. Finally, there was the interview process. This year, every AE, A and AA applicant received a panel interview and most AAA applicants were interviewed. We then named AAA coaches the week of December 5th which is the earliest on record and the AA, A and AE coaches were named on schedule. Is it perfect? Nope, but we are working on it. Were mistakes made? Time will tell but I can tell you that the process is massively improved over recent years mainly because there actually is a process!

Next up - long playoff runs for all our teams and then tryouts. Ahh, tryouts. Let's talk about tryouts.

Like our Parent Survey and our Coach Selection process, tryouts will be changing and improving. Details are being finalized but I can tell you that we will ensure that there are fewer kids on the ice for each session and that every player is fairly assessed. That said, I would like to acknowledge the elephant(s) in the room and put in writing, WHAT EVERY PARENT/PLAYER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TRYOUTS:

  1. The majority of the tryout process is completed before on-ice tryouts begin. This shouldn't be some dirty secret. It is not a negative. It makes sense. If you are a coach and you are going to rely solely on a few 1 hour sessions to decide who is on your team, then you are a poor coach. Most coaches will/should have a number of 'for sure' kids in mind and 3 or 4 kids in mind for each remaining spot before on-ice tryouts begin. How? Because...
  2. Tryouts officially started the day each coach was announced. Next year's coaches should now be out watching games all over the place; they should be taking and placing phone calls; they should be responding to and sending emails; they should be talking with current and incoming coaches to establish depth charts, etc. Next year's coaches should be highly visible around the rinks and ready to talk to parents. They should NOT be having birthday skates or anything which could be considered tampering.
  3. Coaches may not pick who YOU think are the best 17 players. That is because coaches have to build TEAMS and that involves a mix of left and right shots; offensive and defensive kids; fast kids and grinders; creative/flashy players and steady/dependable players. They also may have to keep body checking in mind, work ethic, which way a kid is trending and coachability. Finally, Rep teams generally have between 110 and 180 events over the course of an 8-9 month season with team chemistry being an important component for success, so if you don't think parent behaviour/attitude and player behaviour/attitude have a role in selections then you are mistaken. Don't be the reason your kid doesn't make a team. If you suspect that you may be a crazy hockey parent, please read this and calm down and just enjoy.
  4. Picking teams is not an exact science - coaches will make mistakes. They are not doing it on purpose - they want to win. But maybe they see some potential in a kid vs. a kid who may have plateaued. Maybe they think they can improve the decision making of a kid who can skate and shoot like lightening. Maybe it doesn't work out. It doesn't mean the coach is an incompetent idiot who should be publicly or anonymously insulted. He/she was taking a chance to improve the team and it didn't work out. Oh well, get over it.

So, with all of this in mind, what should you do to maximize your chances of achieving your goals?

  1. If you are a player - work hard in games and practices - do the little things - be a great teammate who is easy to coach. You never know who is watching.
  2. If you are a parent, be realistic. If your child is in HL or AE, the chances of them making AA right away are very low. Target the appropriate level and contact the coach via email or if you see him around the rinks. Make sure he knows who your child is and why you think your child is a strong candidate for the team. Also, behave yourself - everyone is watching.
  3. If your child is returning from another association, understand that they will usually have to be clearly, noticeably better than incumbents in order to make the team. That is not 'not fair' that is just human nature. So, you may have to play one level down in Oakville for a year before you get back to the level you were playing elsewhere.

We have received lots of feedback from my last note about AAA dated December 9, 2016 - lots of negative and even some positive! That is to be expected when you are making changes and we will not be deterred. However, there are some clarifications that I would like to make to set the record straight and to put some minds at ease.

  1. AAA tryouts  With the changes being implemented for the 2017-18 season through the revised LOR regulations, new opportunities for player movement amongst the LOR teams has been created and as such the Oakville Rangers have reconsidered their stance on invite-only tryouts at the AAA level.

    Effective immediately, all Oakville Ranger AAA tryouts will now be open tryouts and any eligible player may register to attend.   We feel that this is in the best interest of achieving our goals and objectives for the AAA program while also creating new opportunities for players who may not have otherwise had an opportunity to tryout for the Oakville Rangers.

  2. AAA Imports. I wrote that "we will selectively allow imports (only at AAA) to help our teams get competitive faster" and that is exactly what I/we meant but not what some people heard. To review, our stated objective is to transform our AAA program into an Elite AAA program with highly competitive, successful teams at every level every year. Our strong preference is to accomplish this with Oakville residents. At some of the older age groups, however, we have run out of 'development' time so imports may be allowed/required to help those teams become competitive more quickly. At some of the younger age groups, where we have lost too many top players, we will selectively allow imports in the short-term to support the competitiveness of those teams until we can develop the existing Oakville players and programs and hopefully draw Oakville residents playing elsewhere back into the fold. For our teams that are already strong, the use of imports will be selectively allowed to ensure those teams remain highly competitive in the future. So, there may be some imports here next year or there may not be because, at this point, let's be honest, some teams will struggle to attract top import talent.
  3. Elite AAA vs. AAA Are the Rangers going to become an Elite AAA program overnight just by saying so and changing the uniforms? Of course not, but we have made the decision to create the environment and programs by which that can happen. The alternative is just stupid. Keep losing our top players every year after having subsidized their equipment in IP, subsidized their goalie training and invested time and resources into their development. No thanks!
  4. An offer for a free post-secondary education for every member of the Minor Midget AAA team. Unfortunately, this comment was misconstrued by some. Let me clarify. The Oakville Rangers Hockey Club (formerly MOHA) will not be providing a free post-secondary education for all members of Minor Midget AAA teams! Our ambitious goal as a hockey club is to develop Minor Midget AAA teams that are so strong that every member of the team receives a scholarship offer. Unrealistic? Maybe, but we are going to try.

So, time to wrap-up my 1600 word novel. I am sure that, despite my best efforts, something I wrote or didn't write or how I wrote it will upset someone but I can live with that. If you are currently a Ranger, good luck in the playoffs. If you are in HL with rep aspirations, I hope to see you at tryouts or around the rinks. If you are an Oakville player thinking of returning, we would love to have you back. Finally, if you live on the moon but are a 50 goal scorer or a big right-handed D, give us a call - we may find a spot for you!

Go Rangers Go!

John Verdon
President - Oakville Rangers Hockey Club (formerly MOHA)

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