I want to provide an update on a request that I received from the OYSL two weeks ago. At the Annual General Meeting of the OYSL, it was brought to my attention that the league was seeking support to continue with a U14 division in 2015. Neither staff nor myself had, to my knowledge, been made aware of this request previously.
I indicated to those in attendance that I would bring this request back to staff for review and consideration. The OYSL has called a special meeting for Wednesday, December 17. At that meeting, OSA technical staff will present the planned future path for the OYSL as well as Regional and District Leagues.
The OYSL has been an important OSA member for many years and has played a strong role in our player system. It’s important that we take member requests seriously and do our due diligence when making decisions. In fact, we offered the OYSL some flexibility a few weeks ago when they sought to expand the number of teams in their U15-U18 age groups, because we felt it was the right thing to do for the entire system.
After meeting with staff and the OSA Executive Committee, it has been determined that there will be no U14 division in the OYSL in 2015. This decision affirms and is entirely consistent with the player-centric values we have been promoting for the past several years. As we have communicated for some time now, the OYSL is being phased out, as we move away from a team-centric approach to developing players.
As you all know, this has been a time of significant change within the OSA. The introduction of LTPD and the advent of the talented player pathway have created challenges but also tremendous opportunities. With this in mind, our technical staff is developing a structure around Regional league play that will provide a very high level of competition.
This approach reflects the joint CSA/OSA vision going forward: a player pathway that provides opportunities for all Clubs and ORNCA Academies to be part of and contribute to, with a dedicated focus on doing what is best for individual players. The new Regional and District leagues will be an integral part of this vision, as will the OPDL. While ideally players seeking an opportunity for higher honours will find their way to OPDL Clubs, in reality there are good players in every corner of the province. As an Association, together with our Districts and Clubs, we need to be able to identify them, help to develop them and give them every opportunity for success—regardless of where they are playing.
In the years to come our Regional leagues will represent the top of the player pyramid, while the OPDL, as a standards-based league, will be a central component of the talented pathway. Ultimately the Regional leagues will become a feeder system for the OPDL.
Again, this decision regarding the OYSL’s request is entirely consistent with the work that began years ago with recommendations from our Technical Advisory Committee. We continue to transition to a new pathway, and while there will always be bumps along the way, I want to thank all those who continue to support the OSA’s work in endeavoring to create an environment where a genuine interest in player development is paramount.
Ron Smale | OSA President