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Black Bear Starting to move in on Youth Hockey??


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Wow, that is something new. Anyone on the board with the Badgers know what this is about?

It's interesting they list the Badgers and the Youth Phantoms, but not the Rebellion or Vipers. All four play in Black Bear rinks.

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40 minutes ago, RJUSHL said:

Wow, that is something new. Anyone on the board with the Badgers know what this is about?

It's interesting they list the Badgers and the Youth Phantoms, but not the Rebellion or Vipers. All four play in Black Bear rinks.

And it's early yet, but Mon Valley isn't listed there either.

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They list the Badgers as a "Controlled Club"  What does that mean?  Wasn't Delmont the first rink they bought in Western Pa?  Seems like they are very methodical in what they are doing. My guess is South Pittsburgh will be next year!  There will be a power struggle with Esmark but at the end of the day they will be in the fold as well and have a Tier II component.  They need enough teams to form an AHF west division.  It most likely will co-exist with PAHL for a few years then separate.   The PAHL will still exist but with fewer organizations.  Just my thoughts and predictions.  It does seem that every rink they bought has made significant improvements.

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1 minute ago, hockeyisgreat said:

Wasn't Delmont the first rink they bought in Western Pa?

I believe Southpointe was the first rink they purchased in the area, and then changed the name after selling the naming rights to Printscape.

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Black Bear's AHF league just keeps announcing new teams that have joined their league. Today they announced four new clubs in NJ that joined AHF bringing in a total of 72 new AA/A/B teams.

They already have North, Central, and South divisions. Not really a matter of if they take over youth hockey in SWPA, but a matter of when, and whether it will be a good change or bad thing for hockey in the region. AHF does some interesting things like all star games, no fair play point, krach ratings, live stats, etc. But they are certainly not a non-profit like PAHL. They want to make some serious cash.

I think in in two seasons ('24/'25 season) there will be more AHF teams in SWPA than PAHL teams.

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Whether fortunate or not, this was inevitable when they started buying rinks in the area. This board had discussions about this at that time. I can see definite possibilities for improvements in Girls' hockey, specifically, but I'm not sure what to think about coed hockey. Since we have seen how unserious PAHL is about Girls' hockey over the years - even though in recent years things have improved slightly - Black Bear can probably seize upon that as a money making arena and make substantial improvements.

For me, there are already so many non-PAHL teams in the City, dividing what is honestly a relatively small talent pool into smaller and smaller buckets. I doubt strongly that PAHL and AHF can both inhabit this space. I'd agree with what's been said above about more choice being better, with the caveat that more choice in this sense means more diluted talent, at least in the short term. I'd also agree that there is much not to like about PAHL. Only time will tell what the effect that Black Bear will have on Pittsburgh hockey in the long term. I do hope they'll at least continue to make improvements in the various rinks they own, some of which were substandard by any measure when they bought them.

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For those who consider championing the idea of having a "choice" of leagues to play in- remember that thought when the time comes where there is once again no choice. And that one choice is really, really expensive for the same thing that you used to have for less cost. 

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1 hour ago, nemesis8679 said:

For those who consider championing the idea of having a "choice" of leagues to play in- remember that thought when the time comes where there is once again no choice. And that one choice is really, really expensive for the same thing that you used to have for less cost. 

So you are assuming everyone will run to Black Bear and PAHL will fold up?   

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I could see AHF and PAHL coexisting just fine.

The larger local orgs will likely put their top  mixed year teams in both PAHL and a half season AHF (which they offer)to give them some more games and travel across state without the scheduling headache of independent games.
The smaller orgs will likely stay PAHL and I could see some birth year teams opting to do an AHF and independent schedule, avoiding PAHL altogether like they do now. 

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1 hour ago, forbin said:

I could see AHF and PAHL coexisting just fine.

The larger local orgs will likely put their top  mixed year teams in both PAHL and a half season AHF (which they offer)to give them some more games and travel across state without the scheduling headache of independent games.
The smaller orgs will likely stay PAHL and I could see some birth year teams opting to do an AHF and independent schedule, avoiding PAHL altogether like they do now. 

I think AHF and independent schedule would be amazing.  Can we get western PA teams stop being afraid of playing each other though? 

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So do we still not know the answer about about Allegheny? There clearly is something different in the structure of that organization compared to Vipers and Rebellion for the Badgers to be listed as a Black Bear owned organization. 

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10 hours ago, aaaahockey said:

I think AHF and independent schedule would be amazing.  Can we get western PA teams stop being afraid of playing each other though? 

Don't think you will ever get the Local AAA teams to play each other!  Too much to lose and not much to gain!  Maybe AHF could force them to play each other.  Isn't AHF mainly Tier II?

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11 hours ago, forbin said:

I could see AHF and PAHL coexisting just fine.

This would be ideal but I'm skeptical. You don't have to look much further than the infighting that is happening out east with AHF and the the DVHL. Social media posts flying back and forth bashing each other, etc. It's a big time fight. Neither of those leagues are ok with a peaceful coexistence. AHF wants the DVHL to disappear and vice versa. AHF will win that fight obviously. The same fight that is moving west very shortly.

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3 minutes ago, RJUSHL said:

So do we still not know the answer about about Allegheny? There clearly is something different in the structure of that organization compared to Vipers and Rebellion for the Badgers to be listed as a Black Bear owned organization. 

Badgers are listed as a "Controlled Club"  whatever that means!  No one has cared to share that info!

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2 minutes ago, hockeyisgreat said:

Don't think you will ever get the Local AAA teams to play each other!  Too much to lose and not much to gain!  Maybe AHF could force them to play each other.  Isn't AHF mainly Tier II?

Yes, AHF is Tier II, but Black Bear owns and runs the "Tier 1 Hockey Federation" which is their Tier 1 league.

https://www.tier1hockeyfederation.com/organizations/

 

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2 minutes ago, hockeyisgreat said:

Badgers are listed as a "Controlled Club"  whatever that means!  No one has cared to share that info!

It's interesting that the Badgers are a "controlled" club but Rebellion is not. For what it's worth it does seem like current Rebellion leadership does a really good job from what I've heard and is doing a good job building that organization. Maybe Black Bear was happy with their management and decided to just leave them be?

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1 hour ago, RJUSHL said:

It's interesting that the Badgers are a "controlled" club but Rebellion is not. For what it's worth it does seem like current Rebellion leadership does a really good job from what I've heard and is doing a good job building that organization. Maybe Black Bear was happy with their management and decided to just leave them be?

I was talking with someone about this and they were under the impression that when Black Bear takes over a rink, they want to take over the club(s) that play there.  They want all the financials to go through the rink (i.e. BB), manage rostering capability, all the uniform orders, have say over or have ability to bring in their own coaches, and manage scheduling aspects, etc. 

This must be the difference between a controlled club and not.  I would be interested in hearing Allegheny's situation if anyone is involved there.  It didn't seem like they would get rid of the existing board/board members of the club, but not sure what else is left to manage once they take over the different aspects. 

The primary argument for this is that they (BB) are working to reduce costs as the rink can discount the ice for its clubs (while charging more for other uses).  The programs don't have to worry about people not paying and other aspects.  The uniforms are cheaper since they are able to get from a single source/supplier and buy in bulk, etc.  They ensure that coaches are not overpaid (or at least pay their own coaches) and don't have conflicts of interest by basically requiring players to go to various coaches camps to make the teams.  By controlling schedule, they can target and control specific weekends for various BB showcases, prioritize ice time for their teams, etc.

I was under impression this was just their model and thought Southpointe went under their umbrella as well and why they rebranded as Rebellion in the first place, but I guess not as the Southpoint board must still be in contol there?  There were rumors that Vipers/Stars were not willing to go along with this approach when BB bought PIA and it brought out all the discussions about the future of the program if you remember.  

I am not sure how much say existing clubs have fighting against this model beyond existing ice contracts that the rinks doesn't need to renew and then can just start their own programs, but will be interesting to see how long other programs at the rinks holdout.

Personally, I don't know what the best approach would be for letting the rinks manage the programs versus maintaining as separate entities.  When you see how much money some of these programs have under their control, you can understand why BB would want to take that aspect over as well.  

 

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4 hours ago, stickboy said:

Isn’t this basically what happens at Ice Castle?  Biggest complaint I here from Preds people is lack of practice ice. 

Haven’t heard that one before from Preds friends. Pretty sure the BY and AAA teams are on the ice 2-3x a week for practices.

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