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Regarding the Recent PCAHA Ruling

By WWFHA Staff Writer, 05/29/17, 12:30PM PDT


May 29, 2017

WWFHA would like to communicate to all members and the public at large regarding the recent ruling by Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA) membership, to clear up any confusion or misinformation surrounding the recent Seattle Junior Hockey Association (SJHA) application to join the PCAHA Female League and the subsequent denial for membership.

We recognize the concern of the SJHA Board and its leadership as well as the concerns of those involved in SJHA, including the current and potential players. We are open to constructive dialogue with all.

Regarding our organization, WWFHA is managed by a Board of Directors. These ten people preside over the association democratically and no one person makes decisions for the whole. Moreover, WWFHA is a 15 year member of the PCAHA Female League. The league is currently made up of 12 members, with WWFHA being one member, with only one vote.

Following a review of the initial SJHA application, the PCAHA Female Committee unanimously denied SJHA’s application based on the established association governing boundaries for each female association, including WWFHA's boundary of Washington State.

Every Lower Mainland PCAHA Female member association has similar boundaries, which in many cases include several youth/boys (integrated) associations, as dictated by PCAHA. The goal of the boundary rule is to grow and nurture more female hockey associations and teams, by ensuring that teams will play in areas consistent with the respective boundaries.  WWFHA must abide by this rule and has been assigned the Washington State boundary for 15 years. While some Canadian
associations are well established and flush with members and subsequently teams, many of the female member associations are still very small. The loss of just a few players many times means the loss of an entire team.

On May 28, 2017, the Female Committee representative, Larissa Lapierre from Tri-Cities presented its case for denial to the entire PCAHA membership (which includes representatives from female and male associations) during the PCAHA Annual General Meeting. This case was made with more details provided by all parties and performed in accordance with PCAHA’s appeals rules. It was stated that SJHA’s application for membership would breach the established PCAHA Female membership boundaries (refer to PCAHA rule J(1)(b)); thus, setting precedent to weaken, if not dismantle, female teams and even entire female associations in PCAHA.  This concern, while catalyzed by WWFHA, is the primary concern of all the Canadian associations for their own
established programs.

There are several cases where Lower Mainland female teams’ boundaries include several boys’/youth (integrated) associations. If just one of them created a new female team, another team could fold. It was stated that until there is critical mass, whether in Lower Mainland or in Washington State, the Female Committee must consider the established jurisdiction of each association.

Please understand that while the Female Committee member appeals were previously denied by split decisions, it was the Female Committee that drove the appeal applications, knowing the impact of the ruling, the precedent it would set, and the harm it would do to many current PCAHA member associations. While WWFHA supported the other members, WWFHA was not driving the appeals, any voting, or final decisions.

WWFHA is only one of the 12 Female Committee members and we were asked by the other 11 members to testify and provide additional information to the Appeals Committees, as the Female Committee knew WWFHA would be the first member to feel the impact of the decision. WWFHA was a member of the united group of associations concerned about the lack of critical mass in all member areas at the older age groups; both in Lower Mainland and Washington State.

The PCAHA Female Committee requested a final appeal at the PCAHA Annual General Meeting, which included all the members of PCAHA, male and female associations. PCAHA includes 43 PCAHA members - 31 youth/boys (integrated) association and 12 female associations. The PCAHA membership voted overwhelmingly to uphold the PCAHA Female Committee's original ruling, not to accept SJHA in the PCAHA Female League for the season of 2017-2018. 

The recent PCAHA membership decision illustrated the tremendous support for a decades long rule that grows the sport and teams involved, rather than stagnates or divides.

WWFHA stands by its mission to empower girls through the sport of ice hockey and help them reach their dreams on and off the ice. Moreover, we will continue to foster the growth of girls’ hockey in Washington State in only the most positive of ways.


Colin Nurse