Statements from Presidential Candidates
The candidates for AYHA President for the 17-18 season are John Buswell and Vince Giardino. Each candidate has provided a statement about their goals for the office. Please click on "Read More" to review their statements.
I am Vince Giardino, I am the father of Dario (08), he is currently transitioning from Mite hockey to Squirt hockey. As a parent of a AYHA player I am proud of his accomplishments and his teammates as well. I am also proud of what AYHA has done for our children and the community of Athens.
For this coming year, I have decided to run for AYHA President and help continue what Valerie and the past AYHA Presidents have built. As a parent I have volunteered for multiple responsibilities. Last year, I was the scheduler for the Mite team and I also volunteered for the 2015 & 2016 Mite and Squirt tournaments.
As a President, I hope to continue in areas such as the Mid-Winter House league for Mite Hockey. I also hope to gain extra support and involvement for the AYHA association by reaching out to the local schools districts, Ohio University and the local businesses as well. I also believe in players getting equal playing time, especially in the formative years of playing hockey. For our younger players, playing and learning are important but overall, having fun should be what’s important to our children.
For the 2017/2018 AYHA season, I would be focused primarily on making sure every player in the association has a positive and fun inclusive experience. A positive experience builds confidence and encourages young players to do their best. A confident group of players are going to push harder, have each others backs and be more competitive. Most of our teams have very short benches, so its important that every kid on the team is confident and plays to the best of their ability, regardless of their skill level. I would work with the board, coaches and parents, to create guidelines to make sure every kid is put into game situations that will help build their confidence without sacrificing the competitiveness of the teams and given every opportunity to develop their hockey skills.
Player development is part of the primary mission of the AYHA, one of the things I would like to try to introduce are more clinics, especially at the start of the season focusing on basics such as skating, stick handling and shooting. The goal of these clinics would be to bring all the players in each age group up to a minimum level of ability that would be determined by the coaches. Thus helping to build their confidence and strengthen the teams who rely on every player. Feedback is also important, especially from the kids. So I would look to provide means for the AYHA players and parents to provide feedback on a regular basis.
Long term growth and keeping the AYHA sustainable is very important to the future of the organization. As president, I would look to create mentoring opportunities, this maybe as simple as having older kids help out at younger groups practices, maybe have the older kids show skating, stick handling and shooting skills, and let the younger kids know that if they listen to their coaches and work hard, they'll get there too. I would look to push the idea of giving back to the game in the local community more, as some of the kids playing today would make very good coaches in the future. It would also help get the concept across that they represent hockey and the AYHA, so acting on and off the ice in a respectful way towards each other, coaches, referees and parents is something that will help resolve a lot of problems we have seen in the past. Working with Ohio University and making sure future planning doesn't impact the availability of ice to the AYHA in the future.
Hockey is an expensive sport, so as president I would like to leverage the professional skills and contacts of the parents within our organization. Whether this is in an advisory role or a more proactive role, I think there are many parents if given the opportunity would be more than willing to help out even if its just making an introduction to a potential sponsor. There are a lot of possible fundraising opportunities for the organization that haven't been capitalized on such as tournament sponsors, assisting Bird Arena with rink advertising sales, concession stand revenue, or even something as simple as streaming games via YouTube. YouTube streaming is something that can be easily done, generates revenue and provides an opportunity for family members to see games who cannot attend games. Better fund raising can provide the association with the ability to invest in things like goalie equipment, water bottles, offset tournament fees etc. Publicity can be pushed through better use of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and things like Facebook advertising.
Finally I would look for ways to help schedulers and team representatives streamline things electronically, improve communication and look for ways as an association we can co-ordinate our efforts. This might involve getting more favorable ice times when we travel by scheduling as a group, negotiating with different hotel chains to get a better rate or using different on-line systems to achieve more favorable electronic payment processing costs.
I accepted the nomination because I feel I am in a unique position to positively impact the AYHA experience for every kid in the association. You will find that I am extremely fair, will treat everyone equally and resolve problems quickly. With Emma (Bantam) and Ian (moving up to Peewee) in the AYHA, and Owen (4) in Learn to Play, I will be very accessible as I'm typically at Bird Arena four days a week. So if there is an issue, come find me and we would get it sorted out. Emma has played for the AYHA since Squirts, Ian since Mites, so I'm well aware of the challenges presented in each age group. I'm uniquely qualified for the role, as I founded and have been president of Athens Community Soccer since 2013. I have hands on experience working with national organizations (US Soccer) and local entities (OU, City of Athens, various soccer associations etc) to negotiate the best possible outcome for the organization I represent and the sport. I will be able to bring that experience to the AYHA. Professionally, I work for Dell EMC as an engineer from my home in Athens, so there are no local employers or individuals that could potentially influence my decision making or weaken any negotiation process. Part of the role of the president is to uphold and enforce the by-laws and policies. I have over six years experience working at IBM as a Software Engineer where I was selected and trusted to work with world class attorneys to uphold and enforce policies that our engineering teams had to follow. I will bring those skills and integrity to the AYHA, making sure that all decisions follow the association and USA hockey by-laws, to insure everyone is treated fairly.
I wish Vince the best of luck, and I'm certain no matter which candidate you select, they will have the best interests of every kid in the AYHA at heart. I'm looking forward to the 2017/2018 season.