Cui Bono? – Part 2
Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time a new residential development sprang up on the outskirts of Toronto. It was a well planned new community and provision was made for parks and other amenities for the use of the young families that would soon move to this new community. Since hockey is somehow embedded in the very DNA of Canada, a hockey arena was built in one of the parks. Naturally a minor hockey league was organized for the area children; and again, since hockey is part of Canadian DNA the league was well supported and big success in the community. Obviously, since any minor hockey league needs management and coordination to be successful; a group of wonderful volunteers in the community got togther to provide the necessary structure and organization.
How Did Community Based Organizations Morph Into Organizations With A Group Of “Owners”?
In the early days these wonderful volunteers along with participating families met on an annual basis to review the season, look at the finances, plan for the next season, and to select and appoint those volunteers that would manage the league for the next year. Over time the same proven and effective dedicated volunteers were acclaimed to their organizational positions. The league was doing well and these volunteers took pride in the fruits of their efforts. And, over more time, there were no more annual meetings, there was no change in the administration and the volunteers became “de facto” owners of the hockey league.
There’s Money To Be Made!
In the course of time the new “de facto” owners found there was money to be made in the running of the hockey league. There are monies collected from registration of participants. There are monies raised from fund raising efforts in bingos, yearbooks and banquets. The league needs equipment such as team helmets, hockey pants, team sweaters & socks, track suits, team jackets, trophies and team pictures; and what the hell, we can just form a company to be a middle man to supply these needs …. and just guess who forms this company.
The Following Is Taken From The Rules Of The GTHL
Provision of Club Policies
“Each Club shall prepare in writing a set of Club Policies in whatever format it deems appropriate. The Club Policies shall describe the Club’s rules, policies and procedures with respect to the topics listed in Schedule ‘B’ to these Rules. The Club Policies must be made available to each player (which for this purpose, where the player is under 18 years of age, shall include at least one of the player’s parents or legal guardians), prior to or at the time he signs a Registration Certificate. The player (including the parent or legal guardian to whom it has been provided), must be afforded an opportunity to review the Club Policies before a Registration Certificate is signed”.
Disclosure Relating to Fees
“Each Club or Affiliated Group shall provide a player (which for this purpose, where the player is under 18 years of age, shall include at least one of the player’s parents or legal guardians) prior to or at the time he signs a Registration Certificate, with a statement in writing disclosing the full amount to be paid to the Club or the Affiliated Group as fees for the Season and setting forth the goods, equipment and services that will be provided to the player for the fee. If a final fee amount cannot be provided, any element that is subject to adjustment, and the reason for that, should be clearly identified and described.”
Disclosure of Payments to be made to Club or Team Officials
“(i) any Club Officials or Related Parties are to be paid any amounts, beyond reimbursement of reasonable expenses. Such disclosure is to be made in the Club’s Policies as described in Rule 5.7 and Schedule B.”
Mandatory Disclosure of Involvement of Club and Team Officials
“Where a Club or Team does, or intends to, purchase goods or services from [sic] who is a Related Party to the Club or Team, that fact is to be disclosed to each player (which for this purpose, where the player is under 18 years of age, shall include at least one of the player’s parents or his legal guardian) prior to or at the time he signs the Registration Certificate or as soon thereafter as it is decided that such purchase will be made.”
In all my days with my boys playing in the GTHL or coaching in the GTHL, I was never offered any disclosure regarding organization rules, finances, or non-arms-length transactions. I was never invited to an annual meeting to review financials or vote on a new executive. In speaking with a number of parents whose children are presently in the GTHL, they tell me that their experience is no different from mine of years ago. They tell me that all they are asked to do is to sign a card and to write a cheque.
Nice to have all kinds of rules published on your website. Does anyone ever actually go to the GTHL website and read the rule book and handbook? Is there any oversight to ensure that league rules are being followed?
Next I’ll extend this topic to where we are today and how we got there.
There’s so much more to come.
With Everyone Busy Lining Their Pockets, Who Has Time To Think About Striving For Excellence?