PO Box 35057
963 Henderson Hwy
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R2K 2M3

River East A Hockey

2019-20 East League Year End Report

The 2019-20 season was definitely one to remember. Although similar to last, we will always remember this to be the Covid year, ended abruptly, and without a crowned champion at any level.

Having our season and playoffs for many come to a screeching halt will definitely be the hard part to move on from for some. What I take away though is how our kids, and our program has grown and succeeded.

This past year our REMHA East League fielded 16 teams, 7 of which came for the 2010 Minor Atom level, which could have been divided into yet another team based on numbers. We saw several teams achieve great success during the season, as one of our Novice teams went undefeated during the regular season. Some of our other teams didn’t see the same success. However, I believe success is measured in many different ways. Many look to the win-loss column, but where I truly see success is seeing the number of kids playing in the Royals program, and the number coaches we have wanting to develop our young kids.

What we have tried to implement over my past 2 years as Director of East League is a shift in focus away from simply winning the game. We have been working to develop our coaches, our players, and our parents. While we all love to win a tournament, or even the City Championships, these short-term accomplishments will seem minimal to a player once they are teenagers or young adults. We have shifted our focus to long term development and player retention. We have done this by shifting the focus from winning at all costs in novice/atom, to teaching our kids the skills to play, to be successful, and to be a winner for years to come……in all facets of life. We have been teaching our coaches the value of fair play, and while some parents may think this not to be the case, I have watched a lot of hockey over these past 2 years and believe we have recruited and developed some of the best coaches in Winnipeg.

What has been so important for myself as the East League Director was to implement a process that is completely unbiased and fair for the kids, that has kids playing at the highest level possible and giving each a chance to succeed. This year we made changes to the evaluation process, and while some disagreed with the changes or how fair they were, the changes not only reduced immense cost associated to player evaluations, but gave the evaluators a much better opportunity to evaluate the kids on while on the ice.

At the end of the day, I understand that in this position it will be impossible to make everyone happy. But what I do know is that the decisions I made over the past 2 years have been 100% for the benefit of the children in our program and I believe our kids and program are thriving. The goal of minor hockey is to develop hockey skills, life skills and relationships for our children. Over the past 5 years as a parent, coach, and board member, I have met and built friendships with some of the most amazing people that I would never have had the opportunity to do, without hockey. The same can be said for my children. I hope that each and every one of you playing hockey out of River East have had the same opportunity and made friendships that will last the test of time.

This to me is success. We have a great program, fantastic kids, and an extraordinary network of volunteers that help make it all happen. We win……we lose……. but we are learning to do both. Success.

 It’s unfortunate that I will not be running for the East League Director position again, however our family has moved from the area and therefore creating the inevitable. While I may not see all of you at tryouts next year, or on the ice with your kids, or in the stands, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for allowing me into your lives and be a part of your children’s success. I was acclaimed to this position …… but I will thank you anyhow.

I would also like to thank all the board members that have worked tirelessly for the benefit of our kids. In particular I’d like to thank President, Bruno Zarrillo, who until joining the board I did not know from a hole in the ground. I have learned so much from working with Bruno over the past 2 years and we both shared such similar vision on how this program should be run. Bruno, along with myself, ensured that fairness was the #1 priority in our program and the betterment of the kids always came first above all else.

I hope that every one of our kids from this year return for 2020-21. I hope they learn to win…. learn to lose…….and learn to be become great teenagers and young adults. I hope to see each one of you around a rink next fall, but until then………go Royals.

Brent Wilkinson
VP REMHA East League


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