For years, youth hockey in Fort Wayne operated under many different entities. Parents were unsure of where to begin getting their children involved and often found teams outside the area for higher-level teams.
Craig Scully hopes that will change with the announcement Tuesday at the SportONE/Parkview Icehouse of the formation of the Fort Wayne Amateur Hockey Association.
“My son was new to hockey, and I didn't play growing up,” said Scully, president of the FWAHA. “It was difficult as a parent to navigate where I had to go. You had to find someone to give you direction. We hope to provide education to our parents so when they start, they can learn where the opportunities are at the next level. If I want to play travel, where do I go? If I want to play high school, where do I go? If I want to play at the next level, what does that mean and how can my kid get there?
“I think (this) organization is going to provide direction to the parents and be able to raise the level of play with the extra skills sessions we're going to be able to offer for our kids.”
The newly formed association combines Fort Wayne Youth Hockey and Fort Wayne High School Hockey Association and the board has representatives from Canlan Ice Sports and the Komets.
Parkview Sports Medicine was selected as the team's naming sponsor and will offer expanded athletic training services at the Icehouse as well as AWP dry-land training, nutrition education and injury prevention.
“We have a lot of kids who are leaving because they think they can play at that level and have to go somewhere else,” Scully said. “Kaleigh (Schrock) is a great example that we can provide and build that here at home. We have Indiana Tech, Trine starting their programs and IPFW. We have a lot of opportunities for kids to play at a higher level and continue on what we can offer them. I hope we can build that program so they have that opportunity.”
Schrock will serve as the coaching director and head of player development, a role he's looking forward to in the new association.
“This is something when I first started in August of 2015 after I retired from the Komets, I didn't realize we were all three different entities,” he said. “That was something that we definitely wanted to change. I'm thankful that it's come together this quickly. We all need to be on the same page especially until we get the numbers we want to get to. It doesn't make sense to compete with our own players in Fort Wayne.
“My goal is for kids to start when they put the skates on at 4 or 5 years old. Hopefully we can get a competitive junior team and they can play all their hockey in Fort Wayne, and we can give them every advantage that they can get. Some of our better kids are going to play elsewhere, so that's important to keep them all here in Fort Wayne.”