The executive board of Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey ousted its president Monday, in a close vote with some members missing and soon after he pitched the idea of hiring a professional to run the association.
Some members of the executive told Mike Walls that he misrepresented the viewpoint of the group while conducting a town hall-style meeting with the membership on Feb. 7, then voted him out with a simple motion and a majority vote, 9-7.
Vice-president Dave Liversidge is now the acting president. However, he was at a President’s Day hockey tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., coaching the Ridge Meadows bantam A1 team when the vote place Monday. Another member of the executive was also away at that tournament.
When the team’s plane touched down in Seattle, Liversidge said his cell phone “almost exploded” from all the texts coming in about what occurred at the regular board meeting Monday.
Liversidge and others plan to contest the vote at next week’s meeting. He said the executive can’t remove a president the way it did. There is a process for an executive member’s removal under the association’s constitution, and he does not believe it was followed.
“I would like to see him come back,” he said of Walls, noting the season is winding down, and a new executive will be chosen for next season at the associations annual general meeting on April 16.
Liversidge said the current conflict on the board is about personal disagreements.
“People have lost track of what’s really important, and what’s really important is the development of the kids.”
He said the Feb. 7 town hall meeting, where parents and others voiced their concerns, brought numerous issues to light. One of the most controversial is the proposal of hiring of a new director of hockey operations, who would be the first paid full-time staff member in the association.
Liversidge sees the DOHO as a progressive move, in step with what the other larger associations in the Lower Mainland have done.
“You look at Burnaby Winter Club, North Shore Winter Club, Abbotsford … all of these people have a hired gun of some sort to help them out.”
Numerous other topics were covered at the town hall meeting, including coaching selection, arena allocation, ice subsidy and referee development.
“There’s lots of issues,” noted Liversidge, adding the proposed DOHO would have to be a miracle worker, a “hockey Jesus,” to solve all the association’s problems.
However, a DOHO would be able to tackle issues as the executive identifies them, and be given an incremental increase in responsibilities as the seasons pass.
“The guy can’t walk on water … but he can if it’s frozen.”
Liversidge is on the committee looking into the new position.
“It’s something we have to investigate, and do our homework on.”
Liversidge appealed for minor hockey parents to attend the AGM, volunteer, and get actively involved with the association.
“Be part of the solution, and not part of the problem,” he said.
Walls declined to comment on his removal.
It is the second time this season the association has been without a president, as former president Glen Mund stepped down this past fall.