As some of you know, there has been a dedicated effort going on behind the scenes to improve the league and its status in the community. We would like to take a little time and update the masses on our efforts.
In January we rebranded ourselves as Charlotte Street Hockey League (formerly Charlotte Street Hockey). Along with this subtle name change came the refocusing of our group to an actual ball hockey league instead of a primarily pick-up league (and the occasional tournament). This was implemented to allow us a revenue stream in order to tackle various initiatives.
First on the agenda was to move us from just a random Facebook group to a legitimate organization. To that effect, we’d like to announce that we are now registered with the State of North Carolina and the IRS as a non-profit organization! This will change the dynamic of the league itself as we now have a board and board members making decisions instead of only one person. This is our current board structure but there will be other board and committee positions available in the future based on need and any initiatives we launch:
Chief Executive Officer – Lou Harvatin
Chief Operating Officer – Sean Colas
Chief Financial Officer and Secretary – Imran Farooqi
Additionally, with our non-profit status, we will be able to secure sponsorships, participate in community outreach programs in order to strengthen our ties to the area (and as a result build membership), and have a bit more credibility when presenting proposals to local governments for better ball/street hockey facilities (more on that below). I would like to give a huge thanks to league member Imran Farooqi for donating a lot of his time to the legal work that goes into such a process!
Next up on the docket is the biggest and most common challenge that we’ve faced in our 8 plus years of existence. That is (let’s say it all together now) finding a place to host league games! I know what you are saying, “but we have pick-up games at the YMCA, why can’t we hold league games there?” Unfortunately, the YMCA does not rent out their facilities to outside leagues or programs (our pick-up games are kind of a cooperative between the league and the YMCA). We have been playing in Huntersville (Waymer Park) off and on since our very first game in 2010 so naturally, this seemed like a good place to start. Recently a few representatives of the league met with the Huntersville parks and recreation department. In short, it went very well. They were very receptive and have a high interest in our concept for improving Waymer Park to make it more conducive to hosting league games (adding fencing to full enclosure of the court, adding sport court surface, etc.) We even recruited one of the maintenance representatives to play with us! This is a huge step forward for the league and we could be just a few sponsors away from getting things done. I would like to thank league member Rob Bini for taking the initiative to draw up the proposals and presenting this to the Huntersville P&R. This will pay huge dividends for us in the future!
The future….(cue the freaky electronic music)
Once we have a better facility to host our league, the sky is the limit! A better surface will attract more players as their equipment won’t wear excessively, as happens on the current asphalt. Full enclosure of the court will allow more fluid game play as well (i.e. those pesky corners, behind the goals and the player bench area). And while this is all well and fine for us old goats, as Whitney Houston sang, “I believe the children are our future”. A major initiative that we would pursue would be holding youth hockey camps (think “learn to play hockey” programs) and eventually hosting something like a 12U league. With the leadership we have in place and a genuine facility to play in, this will be entirely possible. Lagrange Street Hockey in our neighbor state of Georgia has a focus on youth programs and introducing kids to the greatest sport on the planet. You never know where the next great USBHA or even NHLer will come from!
I do want to take the time personally like to thank each player in our Winter 2019 league for taking the leap with us and getting things started. Your league fees went directly to the non-profit application process! I would especially like to thank all 4 of the captains, who happen to be a few of the senior members of the league: Drew Cswaykus, Rob Bini, Jerry Janiga and last but certainly not least, Darren Monaco. Without your help, this first season of the CSHL would not be possible! I would also like to thank all that have volunteered their services this season, be it the thankless job of refereeing, score and timekeeping, or helping set up the court for league games. This has been a true team effort and I love seeing members step up and take initiative!
In summary, we are in a great position right now and the future looks bright for the CSHL and street hockey in Charlotte. Let’s keep the ball rolling!
CEO Charlotte Street Hockey League