When it comes to running a league like the XL Hockey League, the old adage ‘less is more’ definitely applies. Aside from a solid foundation on which to construct the framework, there aren’t any secret ingredients involved in this recipe for a successful and positive experience.
To build a league like the XL Hockey League, it’s important to involve community members and leaders who understand the mission and can help promote and execute the philosophy of a once-a-week hockey experience. Effectively communicating the mission of the league to prospective players and parents is a key to success. The XL Hockey League uses the tagline “One day a week hockey, nothing more, nothing less.”
This message will not only help in recruiting players, but also in securing ice time. Finding ice can be a difficult part of the process, but if an arena manager understands that a rec league can help keep more kids playing the game while introducing the game to new players, he or she might be more receptive since it will bring new customers through the door.
Here are some key areas for consideration:
Officials: Because a once-a-week, no-check league will be a new concept to most players, parents and coaches, it is critical to use USA Hockey certified officials. Hire good referees and educate them on the philosophy of the league. Use the same core group of officials that understands the league and can call a consistent game each week.
Customers: Players and parents need to be treated like customers. A rec league is a different dynamic. You are now in the entertainment business, competing against other sports and activities for these players’ time. If you don’t treat them like customers, it will be difficult to have a successful league.
Communication: Develop a streamlined process for communications using
e-mails, Web sites and phone call chains.
You are only seeing players once a week so good communication is more challenging, but still important.
Fun Factor: If there is a secret to success, it is fun. Make sure that win or lose, everyone has fun. It’s the most effective way to keep them coming back for more.