Welcome to the 2014-15 Andover Hockey season. While the transition from summer can bring mixed emotions, when your child's skate blades touch the ice all will quickly recall their love of hockey, and the excitement for our sport will be new once again.
We remain the largest hockey town in Massachusetts (and almost certainly New England). We believe this is a very positive reflection of Andover Hockey Association, and we are certainly very proud of that claim. Here are some quick facts regarding this coming season:
• 600+ players (and counting—Initiation registration is still active)
• 500+ families
• 42 teams
• 125+ coaches
• ~40 team managers
• 1,600+ unique AHA events at Phillips Andover ice rinks
• 100% volunteer
But the heart of our program cannot be measured by those numbers alone. Our Board of Directors worked hard during the off-season to address a number of important issues. Some of the highlights include:
Responsible Tuition Rates in Spite of Rising Expenses:
Maintained for the sixth consecutive year for Squirts and above.
Decreased $200 for Mite Travel League (MTL) families for a total member savings of over $8,000.
Practice Schedules with More Advanced Notice. No schedule will meet the individual needs of all members, but the member survey results clearly called for more advanced notice. While weekend schedules hinge primarily on the leagues in which our teams play, we are pleased to provide members with longer-term weeknight practice schedules this season.
New Andover House Leagues (Mite Travel League and Squirt 5's). This means more home games for our families and more town championship bragging rights for our kids. Building on last year's success with the Mite House League (MHL), we are very confident it will be extremely popular with those families lucky enough to experience it.
New Uniforms. We are back in gold, sporting navy-trimmed Nashville Predators style uniforms. In those rare instances in which our teams face other teams in gold who do not have an alternate jersey, we will use our blue jerseys from prior seasons. Please note that this will be the last season in which parents do not share the cost of new uniforms; ensure your kids take care of them so they can serve you for at least two seasons.
New Locker Room Policy. Providing a safe environment for our kids is our highest priority, and this sentiment is certainly shared by PA. The shared locker room bathrooms at PA are a challenge we are together striving to address. By adhering to the USA Hockey Safe Sport Program and PA's internal policies, we will soon finalize and implement a new AHA Locker Room Policy. There are a few points to still be confirmed but the new policy includes limiting bathroom access, safe and responsible usage and monitoring of locker rooms, and limiting cell phone use to public areas of the rink. We will roll out the new policy very soon by posting it to the AHA website and emailing the entire AHA Community.
Our Board of Directors, while as committed as ever to promoting the best possible AHA experience, has seen many changes over the last year. Please join me in thanking our former Compliance Director Pam Wright, our former Equipment Director Dave Morgenstern, our former Ice Scheduler Chris Berube, our former Registrar Leigh Keefe, our former Vice President Chris O'Reilly, and our former President Mike Littlewood for their immeasurable contributions to the AHA over the last several years. All of them were remarkably giving of their time for the benefit of their hockey-playing neighbors. And please welcome new Girls Director Heather Clark and new Compliance Director Paul Giggey. Click here to see the current list of our Board of Directors.
While we are very proud of our organization and our history, rest assured we will always strive to make it better still. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the appropriate Division Director or other board member with your questions or suggestions over the course of the season. Thanks in advance to all of you who will find a way to add to this year's AHA experience.
Customized AHA apparel is now available through our AHA Under Armour website. The site includes the official AHA logo, offers a wide assortment of apparel for both adults and kids, and importantly, it allows individual online orders that ship straight to your home.