With a new president, new executive director and a huge turnover on the executive, there have been big off-ice changes in Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey this off season.
Adam Schwartz is the new president of the association, and Dave Lige has been hired as the first executive director.
Schwartz replaces Scott Falconer, whom he said was an inspiration for the new president in taking the job.
“He was big reason why – he was an excellent president, did some great work, and I wanted to carry that on,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz was on the executive last year as the bantam/pee wee director.
Falconer departs along with key people from the last executive, including Carolyn Gosling, the vice-president of administration and Derek Gullmes who was the C director.
He said they all have kids who are aging out of minor hockey, or have already left, and they have done a lot of work for the association. While they take an “encyclopedia of information” away, they are also still willing to be resources for the new executive, the said.
“You couldn’t ask for more dedication and passion than those people who have moved on,” said Schwartz.”
Schwartz said Lige has been hired for a three-year contract, and will give the association a “a vision to take us to new heights.”
While hiring staff members can be controversial in a sport that has long been dominated by volunteer efforts, Schwartz said the choice of the popular Lige silenced any critics. Lige was as much a consensus pick as Rasmus Dahlin.
“In all my years here in Ridge, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad word about Dave Lige.”
He is a sports psychologist with expertise in both on-ice practice and off-ice preparation.
“Lige brings extensive experience working with kids both in an administrative role, as well as on the ice. His vision for the direction of the association is exciting and all of us at RMMHA will strive to work with him as we continue to build on the excellent foundation built by those that have moved on from administrative roles in the recent months,” said Schwartz.
“The search for our executive director was long and exhaustive, but we feel it was well worth the time invested by our volunteers. I would like to personally thank the members of the hiring committee for their professional and business-like approach to each and every step in the process.”
On social media, the many comments about Lige’s hiring ranged from “awesome dude” to “perfect fit”
James Eccles is the other full-time staff member, and he remains the director of hockey development.
“Development is a big thing for us – we really need to do the best job possible.”
Schwartz is entering the start of a two-year term, and said he will work closely with Lige.
Their job is “to make the overall experience for the kids better.”
The biggest challenge remains a lack of ice time, and Schwartz said the association is going to explore ice time in neighbouring communities as a solution, until more ice is built in Maple Ridge.
The new executive will have a volunteer coordinator, who will try to fit more hockey parents’ efforts into the association.
“Volunteer engagement is a really big challenge,” said Schwartz. “We are a bedroom community where mom and dad both work, so how much can they give to the association?”
Also on the new executive are vice-presidents Brad Scott (C hockey), Ryan Douglas (A hockey), Andrew Koran (administration), secretary Bonnie Segarty, treasurer director Chris Sirovyak, risk manager Ken Thompson, sponsorship director Laura Shelton, volunteer director Pam Galvez, H1-4 director Dale Lupul, atom director Wyatt Coupland, peewee/bantam director Dave Kallin and midget/juvenile director Derek Bedard.