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The President's Season Update

December 13, 2020

Dear Southtowns Stars Families,

In accepting the position of Acting President of Southtowns Stars earlier this year I vowed to create a transparent environment and provide consistent and clear communication on a regular basis. In recent weeks I have received a few emails and phone calls where our members have felt they have not received regular updates and I wanted to provide that in this President's Update today.

The reality of the situation is that our season continues to remain in question.  I have attended multiple meetings of WNYAHL and NYSAHA and their plea and efforts to get approval for game play in New York State has continued to be unsuccessful. Unfortunately this has had a huge impact on youth leagues across the state. Since the start of the season in August the Board of Directors has met monthly to continue to develop strategies and protocols to meet our goals as a league.

Our goal is to continue to:

  • Remain in good standing with WNYAHL, USAH, NYSAHA.
  • Develop official USAH rosters and receive approval for 100% of our 600+ players, coaches & volunteers.
  • Communicate regularly with our coaches and managers through regular meetings and email correspondence.
  • Communicate regularly with our families through regularly published President's Updates and through dissemination of information via our team coaches and managers. 
  • Develop and implement safe COVID-19 pandemic protocols to protect our players, coaches, managers, volunteers, Leisure Rink staff and all our our families.
  • Keep our players developing and growing through on ice practices regardless of game play. 
  • Manage a fiscally responsible budget.


Although game play continues to be prohibited keeping our players skating remains of importance as the hope of a condensed season in the new year remains in our plans. Although we have no way to know if this will happen we must continue to plan and be ready if this does occur. With that in mind we know that ice costs a lot of money and is not able to be split at this time. We have recommended that each team reduce skating to once a week or take a December or January PAUSE. We have not required this as there are many families and coaches that would like to continue their regular practices. We have given our coaches and their families the ability to make those choices themselves. The initial $700 payment you paid at registration provides all travel players with forty (40) hours of ice and two (2) pair of socks. MOHL registration provides players with forty (40 hours of ice and two (2) pairs of socks and a game jersey. With that being said many teams have been skating regularly since August and September. At this point most teams have used more than 50% of their forty (40) hours and some teams have used all of their hours.

Until a formal announcement from NYSAHA occurs, we will not cancel the season. If a decision is made to cancel the season it would be done in conjunction with the surrounding youth hockey leagues. If that were to occur all families who qualify would receive a refund prorated based on their team ice use minus socks, MOHL jerseys and any administrative fees based on previous expenses thus far. Unfortunately, the major cost associated with hockey is not games, but the actual ice time, which has not been paused across the region. Our STSAHA ice bills are around $50,000 each month and those bills must continue to be paid as long as we are using this ice this season. At our BOD meeting last week we have decided to PAUSE individual player requested refunds as we are more than 2/3 of the way through our season. This policy will be in effect unless a formal season cancellation is announced.  If your team collected additional money for tournaments, team expenditures, extra ice, practice jerseys, etc your individual coaches and team mangers would coordinate that refund individually. 

Please know we are committed to continuing to make the Southtowns Stars an elite, family friendly, and player centered youth hockey organization in Western New York. It is your support and spirit that fosters that perspective and we truly thank you for making Southtowns Stars your hockey home season after season. On behalf of the board of directors we wish you continued health and wellness through this holiday season.

Warmest Regards,

 

 

Richard Vittoria, Acting President & Chief Operations Officer

Southtowns Stars Amateuer Hockey Assocation

Email: president@southtownsstars.com   Cell: 716-706-5560 

UPDATED 12/13/20

Board of Directors Makes Decision on Official Travel Game Jerseys

We know there have many questions about the ordering of official game jerseys and the Board of Directors has discussed this at length and made the decision to not place an order for official game jerseys this year for our travel teams. There were two main reasons for arriving at this decision. The first was that the turn around time for the custom stitched jersey was about 6 weeks putting us more than halfway through the season upon arrival. The second was to save our families money. We know that this pandemic has been tough for some of our families and hockey is an expensive sport. Travel jerseys cost over $200 and the season official start date has yet to be determined. Coaches and managers have been informed and provided with an alternative premium practice jersey option that teams can optionally order for about $30 with a 1.5-2 week turnaround time. Our goal is to place 2021-2022 orders next May in hope to return to normal season play. We felt this was the right decision at this time. MOHL jerseys are included with registration and will be ordered this week. All MOHL and Travel players will receive socks. We know this decision may cause some frustration, but our job is ensure our families are all able to get the most use out of these costly required apparel items.  

Player of the Month Program to Begin!

We are excited to announce that the Board of Directors has recently approved the implementation of this program for this season. Beginning October 1, 2020 we will implement our new STSAHA Player of the Month program.  Each month travel and MOHL coaches will be asked to nominate one player to celebrate their hard work, dedication and skill development on their youth hockey team.  Each player will receive a certificate and a Southtowns Stars logo pin for their jackets or any other STS gear they own.  Their name & photo will be placed on the new Southtowns Stars Player of the Month board in the Leisure Rinks lobby. Thanks to Leisure Rinks you will notice a brand new banner above the board to help us celebrate the accomplishments of these players and we are excited to recognize our own. Thank you to Mrs. Audrey Urbanski for stepping up to coordinate this program each month. 

New STSAHA COVID-19 Protocols Approved

Recently our organization experienced the first positive Covid-19 case associated with a member of Southtowns Stars. We became aware of the situation within hours of the positive result and took immediate action to mitigate the situation and protect our players, coaches, staff and families. We were in constant contact with the Erie County Department of Health and worked with their epidemiology team and contact tracers to provide information and implement the reccomendations of the ECDOH. It is with this experience that our Board of Directors has approved a protocol that will be implemented in every positive direct contact player, coach and/or staff member case that may occur within our organization. Please continue to complete the Health Assessment form each and everytime your player enters the rink.  We provide this information to contact tracers when dealing with positive cases. Please know that although some of these protocols may be an inconvenience our priority will continue to be to protect all players, staff, coaches and their families.

The following protocol will occur for each positive close contact case within the organization:


1. Upon notification by the player, coach, staff member or their family or the ECDOH the entire affected team will PAUSE all on ice practices, tournaments and/or games at any ice facility for 14 days from the positive test result or until all "close contacts" have been informed. The league will work to sell scheduled  ice times within the 14 days to reduce the overall loss of ice budget within this ice time pause dates.

2. A letter will be sent to the entire registered organization via Mail Chimp and through each team's head coach and/or manager making them aware of the positive case with guidance information as per the ECDOH guidelines.

3. ECHOD contact tracers will gather information from the affected team's head coach and manager to be able to make recommendations for the team.

4. ECDOH will contact any "close contact"  defined person/s who may be affected and provide them with guidance.  

UPDATED 10/29/20

Online Registration AVAILABLE!

Stars Online Registration is currently AVAILABLE for Coaches and Managers, MOHL Players, and Travel Players

Click on the Registration tab to get started!

A few important items:

  • Payments will be spread out over 5 months for both Travel/MOHL to make it more affordable this season.
  • Be sure to have your new 20-21 USA Hockey Membership number prior to registration. You will need it when you register.

Thanks for your continued patience & understanding.

2020-2021 Travel Coaches Contact Info

Travel Team Coach Phone
Girls 10U NTB Chris Costanzo 716-380-9700
Girls 12U NTB Jay Ciamaga 716-523-9119
Girls 12U TB Jim Bowen 716-777-1396
Girls 14U/16U Dennis Osinski 716-481-8427
Girls 19U TB Greg Catlin 716-998-7444
Mite Minor Eric Elliot 716-830-1970
Squirt Minor Alex Nowosiadly 716-913-8931
Squirt Mixed Donny Benker 716-510-8587
Squirt Major TBD
Pee Wee Minor Tom Murray / Justin Paterson 617-538-7758 & 716-598-7094
Pee Wee Mixed * If there are enough players a team will be formed from the tryout
Pee Wee Major TB Dan Reardon 716-912-6331
Bantam Minor White Mark Giancaterino 716-628-9777
Bantam Minor Green Matt Holmes 716-531-6836
Bantam Mixed Keith Barry 716-912-7681
Bantam Major TB Dave Huttenlocker 716-846-4783
Midget 15U Chris Stec 716-698-3748
16U NTB Rick Owen 716-244-3429
16U TB Damiani / Augustyniak 716-725-3998, 716-573-6513
18U NTB John Franke 716-573-1333
18U TB John Clark 716-308-4823

On Ice Health Assessment

You are required to complete this health assessment each time you arrive for practice, games or scrimmages.

COVID 19 UPDATES

Want to Share Positive News?

Send Us Your Photos!

If you have current photos from STS events, tournaments, games and other celebrations, please text them to Jessica Kline, Coordinator of Social Media Relations @ 716-239-7801. Include the date/s, coach's name, level and what the photo is showing. Look for them on our website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Help us celebrate you! You can also send your photos and descriptions to socialmedia@southtownsstars.com

Support Girls Hockey: Recycle!

When returning bottles and cans to Consumers Beverages you can request the proceeds be applied to the G12U TB account. This is applicable at all 18 WNY stores. Thank you for supporting girl's hockey!

Jim Bowen, Director of Girls Hockey

THE PARENT'S CORNER

Do you have questions about registration, upcoming important dates, documents you will need for the upcoming 2020-2021 hockey season?  The Parent's Corner is your one stop shop providing you with all the information you need to be ready for the new season.

Visit The Parent's Corner

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