WINDSOR – The Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) held its 123rd annual General Meeting at the Caesars Palace Windsor here Saturday, June 16.
The three-day meeting dealt with the election of officers, Tomorrow’s Game initiative, finances, and perhaps most importantly, the retirement of President Brent Ladds, who is stepping down after 36 years with the oldest hockey body in Canada.
Ladds was also presented with a Life Membership in the OHA by outgoing chairman John Kopinak.
“The OHA has been family to me for 36 years,” Ladds said. “To recognize me in this fashion was unexpected and overwhelming. Thank you sincerely.”
Leo Lostracco, of Welland, is the new chairman of the OHA Board of Directors.
From an operations standpoint, the major decision was that the membership endorsed a new funding model (a $300 participation fee for players in the OHA) which will begin to help reduce team fees.
The practice is being used successfully in other Canadian hockey organizations, but is new to junior hockey within the OHA. This new assessment fee will be implemented, beginning in the 2012-13 season.
Newly elected chairman Lostracco praised the decision by the members.
“I would like to thank the group here (membership) for accepting change which will provide us with the ability to fulfill the vision of Tomorrow’s Game,” he said. “I am often reminded of the banner that hangs at the Hockey Canada meetings which basically says ‘keeping relevant and having the courage to change.’
“Today, we’ve taken the first steps to ensure that the OHA remains relevant in the hockey world, through change,” Lostracco said.
In addition to Ladds being presented an OHA Life Membership, former OHA chairperson Karen Phibbs, of London, was given the OHA Gold Stick Award for her service to hockey in the OHA as well as nationally.
“I am truly humbled by this award,” she said. “It’s a testament to all the people I have worked with in hockey who have provided me with their experience, questions, concerns and even complaints which has been so important in being able to represent them within the OHA and at the national level,” Phibbs added.
Election of 2012-13 officers
The annual meeting concluded with the election of officers. The membership elected this board for the 2012-13 season.
Officers taking office by acclimation:
Leo Lostracco, Welland – Chairman of the board
Wayne Schnabel, Chatham – Vice-chairman
Jon Gibbons, Trenton – Chairman of Senior Hockey
John Kastner, Stratford – Chairman of Junior hockey
John Kopinak, Mitchell’s Bay – Immediate Past Chairman
Elected directors included the following incumbents: Bradley Grant, Milton; Bill Markle, Toronto; Gary Moroney, Aurora; Bruce Schlitt, Guelph; Trevor Tinney, Campbellford; and Don Yeck, Belmont.