KMHA President Defends Decision To Cancel Season After Parental Outcry

Kent Cobras
Minor Bantam Kent Cobras action from last season – Photo by Wyatt Williams /

After the Kent Minor Hockey Association (KMHA) announced that they would not be returning to the ice, angered parents took to social media to voice their displeasure with the decision, and the shared disappointment they felt for their children.

“The Executive agrees that the decision to cancel will be difficult for the kids that had their hopes set on returning to the ice,” Kent Minor Hockey President Carl Herder wrote to CKSN when questioned about the decision. “KMHA is dedicated to providing a safe environment and one that is value driven to everyone concerned.”

According to Herder, KMHA made the decision considering three factors: future uncertainty, financial risk, and the inability to provide the programming families had paid for.

The anger from parents came after hearing that other local organizations including South Kent, Dresden, Wallaceburg, Chatham-Kent Cyclones, and Chatham-Kent Crush announced either immediate, or imminent return-to-play plans.

“Local parents in Chatham have to explain to their kids why they can’t play hockey,” one parent commented on CKSN’s Facebook page. “But others in Dresden, Blenheim, etc are allowed to play. Had to have a painful conversation with a 5 year old last night why his cousins can play in Dresden but Kent Minor Hockey Association says he’s not allowed.”

Dozens of parents took to social media commenting on various media outlets who publicized both the reopening of arenas, and KMHA’s announcement.

“Kent Minor hockey needs to let all of our kids back on the ice. Why do Blenheim and Dresden and the Cyclones get to? How do the kids develop their skills if they aren’t allowed on the ice?” another wrote.

For the KMHA, according to President Carl Herder, the uncertainty was too much for the organization to handle.

Herder stated that entering the Red Zone was a primary decider for KMHA, and the inability of the organization in this restricted level of protection against COVID-19 to provide children with what they actually paid for.

“The restrictions allow for only 10 kids on the ice at one time, prior to the lock down we were allowed 20. We contracted 66 hours of ice per week which allowed each team two ice sessions per week. Registration costs were determined by the fact each child would receive two sessions per week,” Herder wrote.

“The new restrictions would not allow us to offer the programming to our players that they paid for.”

Herder continued by stating that with restrictions likely easing in early March, and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent typically removing ice from arenas in late March, the organization was left to make a difficult decision, with no guarantee the season could be extended.

According to Herder, the executive also chose to act in order to protect the long term financial security of the organization, as financial risk existed if KMHA resumed programming due to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent’s cancellation policies.

“The other factor which is purely financial, we had the opportunity to cancel our ice contract with no penalty if we did so prior to starting up again,” Herder said.

“The uncertainty of the restrictions in the future, the ability to cancel with no penalty, and our inability to provide a program that families paid for left us no other option.”

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