Welcome to the 2019-2020 season! It's a bit hard to believe the travel teams have been back on the ice for a few weeks now but I hope that you all enjoyed your summer and had a bit of time away from the rink! I am very excited for the coming season and I know that your DYHA Board is well prepared for the coming six months. I promise this note will be a fair bit shorter than last year which covered quite a bit of ground!
I finished my note last year by thanking all the volunteers and Board members who offer their time and passion to keep DYHA strong. This year, DYHA’s 46th, I will start by welcoming several new faces that have joined our Board because I couldn't be more enthused about the energy and ideas that they have added. Please be sure to say hello and thank you to new Board members Tom Carey, Peter Franchetti, Sally Reed, Dan Brown and Anders Hurst when you see them next. Your Board now encompasses sixteen uniquely talented people, which is the maximum allowed by our by-laws, and fulfills a goal of mine to fill every seat. Of course, that means we had to say goodbye to a few long time and very valuable Board members including John Massey, Dawn Bryson, Michael Kadish and Buzz Olson. I want to thank them all for their time, effort and execution while on the Board, they have all made lasting contributions to the success of DYHA and will be missed.
As in past years, we continue to refine the DYHA program and add expertise to our personnel. I would like to briefly touch on two individuals. On the skill development side, we are pleased to add Chris Gragnano to our Travel skills program. No doubt many of you are aware of Chris and the work he has done over the years with prep, junior and professional players. We are excited to bring his skill and leadership to our squirt, peewee and bantam travel players. Equally exciting is the news that John Miserendino has been named our first ever Mite Development Coordinator. In this role, John will be responsible for the development program for our mini, mighty and mite age groups at both the House and Travel level. John will become a very familiar face for our younger players as he will lead House practices, Mite travel skills along with coaching the Mite A1 team. His hiring reflects the Board's commitment to developing our youngest players from the first time their blades hit the ice. We look forward to sharing John's development thoughts with you in the very near future and he is always available to answer your questions.
We have added several new coaches to the organization as we strive to improve the development experience on the ice. You will soon be receiving a note from Dean Bellissimo and Bill Moody, our Travel Directors, with further detail on personnel and development initiatives. Our House League offering is under the direction of Chris Burt and Anders Hurst who are prepared for a mid-October start. They will also provide an update and details for House members in late September and will announce dates/times for both coaches' meetings and parent meetings with John Miserendino. As I noted last year, DYHA operates one of the largest House programs in the United States and we continue to focus our energy and dollars on the program and are enthused by the continued strong participation.
This past June your Board approved an investment in TBWave LLC which owns an equity stake in the operating company for Stamford Twin Rinks (STR). As you may recall, TBWave's investment provided DYHA with an extended ice contract at STR. We expect this transaction to be completed in the near term and believe that closer alignment with our primary ice supplier will allow for better communication and participation on initiatives that enhance the hockey experience at STR for all DYHA members. Speaking of enhancing the experience at STR, I would note that both the cafe and upstairs restaurant have changed management in the past few months and many have already seen a marked change in both quality of food and service. If you haven't already done so, please try to visit and say hello to Billy Lengyel, the new operator.
Looking back on my five years on the Board, I can note many improvements to the DYHA program owing to the vision and hard work of numerous Board members and volunteers. We will continue to push forward with new initiatives that will benefit our membership while remaining true to our nonprofit, community-based philosophy. I encourage you to take advantage of all that the DYHA has to offer — stick and puck sessions, pond hockey and sign up skill skates in addition to your regular Travel or House activities. I am proud of what we have collectively accomplished and am energized by the opportunities still in front of us. The DYHA is extremely fortunate to have an engaged membership that will ultimately become the new leadership allowing the association to continue to thrive well past its 50th year!
I hope that the 2019-2020 season is the best yet for you and your player! And, please, remember to tell your player often how much you enjoy watching them play. The seasons do go by very quickly so enjoy the game, and the smiles, to their fullest while they are here! As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or thoughts you may have.