Dave Lige, the first executive director of the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association, is resigning his position effective the end of 2020.
“It was a tough decision, but I feel it was the right one for myself and for my family,” said Lige.
He plans to go “back to my roots,” in the field of clinical psychology, and will rebuild his brand as a sports psychologist.
Lige took the job three hockey seasons ago, when it was a new position in the association.
In the last three years, his focus has been on improving instruction and development for players and coaches. The association has also worked hard to hold the line on costs, keeping registration to a three per cent increase over those three years. At the same time, ice time and development opportunities have increased, he said.
Last year, the association posted a budget surplus.
Lige has been respected by his peers, and served on the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association’s return to play committee, providing guidelines for associations trying to offer hockey programming.
Lige said losing ice time to arena improvements, and also to increased breaks between ice times for cleaning dressing rooms has made this season a challenge. All of the 202o year has been spent dealing with hockey in the new COVID environment, with new regulations set by public health.
“That has really consumed me this year, in my role,” said Lige.
In earlier seasons, he helped develop the new skills-based approach known as the Little Rustlers program, which has been recognized for its innovation.
Lige said the association faces challenges in the future in competing with private, high performance hockey programs. Minor hockey associations will need to strike a balance between offering elite-level development opportunities that can compete, while holding the line on costs.
The minor hockey executive posted a social media announcement about Lige leaving, calling him “a positive role model for RMMHA athletes within our community.
“On behalf of RMMHA athletes and families, your board of directors would like to thank Dave for all his time and efforts over the years.”
Lige said hockey families will still see him around the rinks of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
“I am still a Rustler, my kids are Rustlers, I’m staying in the association, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.”