Dear Players, Parents, and Coaches:
On July 8, 2020, SAHOF Vice President, Nic Robillard, e-mailed a letter addressed to “Jay Feaster, President, LHSHL, and Tom Garavaglia, EDP Program Director,” informing us that a specially-appointed SAHOF Committee he was asked to assemble and Chair made the following determination and planned to report its findings to the entire SAHOF Board at a meeting that evening:
The committee has determined that as currently advertised, the EDP teams cannot be rostered as HS/Prep teams moving forward as they do not qualify as a High School program under the Definitions for High School classification. As currently advertised, the EDP teams would have to roster as a full season Independent Tier I or Tier II teams. Independent teams must roster as National Bound teams even if they do not intend on competing for a National Championship. This effectively would make all rostered EDP players ineligible for travel teams and make rostered travel team players ineligible for the EDP program as you cannot be rostered on multiple National Bound teams. When EDP was presented to the board it was advertised to the board as a supplemental program and that it would not compete with travel hockey. With the amount of practices, games and trainings the EDP program is now presenting it without a doubt does compete with travel hockey. Furthermore, the tryout dates mirroring with travel tryout dates is directly competing with travel hockey rather than a supplement as initially advertised and presented to the board.
Additionally, all teams rostered through the LHSHL would become Independent under rule 2(H) in the SAHOF Rules and Regulations.
H. ALL OTHERS – Teams playing a Regular Season (September 1st through March 31st) as a Tier I or Tier II Independent teams created in the Affiliate are required to register as Tier I National Bound or Tier II. These teams and all other teams not so registered that may be playing Rec / Select are considered “Independent Member Organizations”. Those Independent Member Organizations will be deemed fully independent for the purposes of all programming. Independent Member Organizations will not be eligible to field SFHL teams or host SAHOF sanctioned events. Independent Teams must comply with all applicable Affiliate rules regarding Team Registration.
At its meeting that evening the SAHOF Board of Directors accepted the specially-appointed Committee’s recommendations without objection. While provided an opportunity to address the SAHOF Board, Tom and I were unable to change the Committee’s findings or the Board’s decision.
As a result, and after careful consideration of all options, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Community Hockey department is taking the following course of action with respect to our 2020-21 EDP Freshman/Sophomore (underclassmen/U16) and Junior/Senior (upperclassmen/18U) Teams:
We did not make this decision lightly, and we sincerely regret any inconvenience caused by our decision. Please know we continue to be committed to providing an outstanding Development experience for our student athletes, and while this was not the way we planned our 2020-21 season we do see some benefits in becoming a “Spring/Summer” program, including opportunities for more players to join our coaching staff of former NHL players on the ice for practice and training, as a result of eliminating conflicts with Travel Team practices. Additionally, as a result of shifting to a “Spring/Summer” program, we are hopeful to be able to secure a more favorable ice time for practices. We sincerely appreciate your support of all of our Community Hockey programs! We look forward to seeing you at Tryouts in February/March 20201, and we cannot wait for our new “Spring/Summer” EDP season!
Very truly yours,
Vice President, Community Hockey Development
Manager, Community Hockey