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Southwest Collegiate Hockey League

All-Star Weekend Wrap Up

Details on events leading up to the weekend and concerns expressed by some players and fans

SCHL  February 16th, 2011 at 9:20PM
To All SCHL: Players, Coaches and Fans,

We would like to thank everyone that made last weekend’s event possible. As many of you know, Houston Indoor Sports is experiencing construction delays that have now impacted two SCHL events. It is the SCHL’s goal to use as many top rate facilities as possible each season and we work closely with facility owners to make that possible.  Sometimes for reasons beyond our control that cannot always be achieved.

With the Houston rink unavailable, the SCHL had to make arrangements as quickly as possible to accommodate the all-star weekend event.  We understood that some teams would increase their travel time dramatically in order to attend the relocated event. Our goal was to hold games on as similar a time frame as originally scheduled while taking into consideration the complete reversal in travel time for many teams.

We built the entire Spring schedule around having the two rink facility in Houston for the all-star weekend. If we had been unable to operate 2 rinks, the alternatives were extremely poor. If we move a division to another weekend we risk players/teams being unavailable or schools not granting travel on short notice. Many players plan in advance to get off work or make other arrangements so they are available to play, so keeping games on the originally scheduled dates is imperative.

If we had operated on one rink we would have had to schedule 32 games in 48 hours, as well as cancelling the SCHL All-Star game. Hosting some games on Friday would have been a possibility, however it would not alleviate the congestion created by so many games on one rink and would have added an additional night of hotel expense for all teams from outside the North Texas area. Also, teams would have departed the event much later on Sunday evening. To put it into perspective: Games would have run, at best: Saturday from 10am until 2am that night, and then on Sunday from 7am-11pm. In addition, Lone Star had adult league play-offs and championships on Sunday and those times are not factored above. Teams facing between 4 hour to 10 hour drives home would have been departing well after 8-9pm on Sunday, which we felt would be absolutely unacceptable.

Our best option was to seek out a second facility in which to play. The facility had to be relatively close to the other facility in order to finish D1 and D2 with the proper match ups leading to play-offs. Denton had the only facilities that met our criteria. We considered moving B to Lafayette or Austin, however neither rink had a large enough block of time available during the weekend to allow us to move games there.

Using Lone Star and the facility formerly known as Face Off was our best option.  However, Face Off has been closed since July of 2010. The SCHL contacted the landlord who graciously offered the facility for use, however the situation was not as easy as opening the doors and playing.

The facility had been used briefly as storage and several sections of boards and glass and been removed and the floor was excessively dirty.  Also, the building did not posses a Certificate of Occupancy. The rink had no staff to monitor activities or provided maintenance. Therefore the landlord allowed us to use the building on the condition that we avoid large crowds because the building is on the market to be leased and any damage or theft of property would directly impact the league.

It was at that time that many people stepped up to donate time and professional services so that we could play. RN Realty offered the facility on Mayhill for our use.  The City of Denton, Denton Economic Development and Denton Chamber of Commerce worked to help provide a Certificate of Occupancy in 1 day. (This is a process that normally takes 2-3 weeks.)  Curtis Sparlin and a crew from his construction company installed the boards and glass so that the rink was secure and safe, for no charge. SLS Services provided the league a 4 person cleaning crew at no charge to make sure the facility was clean. USA Hockey provided our Certificate of Insurance and League Sanctioning Certificate on short notice. A lot of people with no direct connection to the SCHL helped because they know who we are, how we operate and for the love of the game. We cannot thank them enough.

Because of the restrictions on crowd size set forth by the landlord we scheduled the University of North Texas at Lone Star for the duration of the event. From past experience we know UNT usually draws a sizable crowd for home games and we could not risk breaking our agreement with the landlord of 222. S. Mayhill. We also could not put ourselves in a position of having to refuse entry to fans. We understand that the league failed to communicate these facts prior to the event and apologize for the lapse in communication. Many details were being worked out up until Friday and we did not anticipate such a backlash. We also apologize to the University of North Texas because they specifically requested to play as many games as possible on the larger surface at 222. S. Mayhill in preparation for their out of region event in St. Louis. For any other team that had a majority of games on Face Off, there is no particular reason why other than luck of the draw.

For teams that felt their schedule was too spread out or too cramped. We understand. There are many factors we considered when changing locations. Teams that were 45 minutes from the rink in Houston were now 4 hours away. Many teams made commitments and had to return early on Sunday. To further complicate things many D2 teams had 5 games over the weekend.

Throughout the weekend some forgot about the sacrifice made by many to help the league and you play a game.  In the end the sport is greater than our league, your team, or you and we should all be thankful for the opportunities we receive to play the game we love.  For those with questions or complaints a league official is at every event ready to take your questions. We work for the teams and the schools and we never forget that. We also greatly appreciate the fans and parents that attend SCHL events and will always take time for any concerns they have.

Theodore Roosevelt may have put it best when he said, “Have you got a problem? Do what you can where you are with what you've got.”

Please remember that there is a important difference between thinking that there is a problem and there actually being a problem. When we’ve had problems in the past, we are the first to make it public, offer a full explanation, and aggressively take steps to make sure that problem doesn’t happen again. But when players and fans think that there is a problem and fail to simply talk to us about their concerns, suspicion and rumors begin to poison the league and damage an institution that we all hold dear.

Best of luck to everyone as play-offs approach.

The SCHL Staff
Jerid Nemergut
Mike McAuliffe
Lee Clark
Richey Wong

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