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Rinks, hockey guys, and bad information management

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Old
05-02-2013, 03:35 PM
  #26
McDugan
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But these are common problems - yes I'm experiencing them at my local rink in particular, but they are endemic to many rinks - my gripes are compiled from experiences with 5-6 local rinks, as well as observations of other people's stories from all over the place.

It's pretty much an industry-wide problem (to varying degrees, obviously), and not isolated to just one place or even just a few for that matter. What I'm saying is that I'm shocked that across the board, the normal standard seems to be so low.

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05-02-2013, 04:24 PM
  #27
Cotton McKnight
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Originally Posted by 17of26 View Post
Setting up a basic website that would suit a hockey rink's needs could easily be just a one time cost with occasional support after that.

At a bare minimum, they need an up to date calendar of what's going on at the rink. The rink must have this information written down somewhere anyway, so it's just a matter of making that data publicly visible.

I would have to think that having a nice website where people could see available programs and sign up online would increase the rink's business dramatically.

These guys do it right: http://fmcicesports.com/. Full calendars for every rink they run, program listings, and online signup.
You sir are correct, it is not hard to build a website now-a-day, there are so many websites that will let you build them for free drag and drop style.

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05-02-2013, 06:29 PM
  #28
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Actually, the rinks in Vancouver have pretty decent websites.

Hell, the Richmond Olympic Oval's website actually has a pretty sleek design.

I think it just depends on where you are, really.

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05-02-2013, 09:37 PM
  #29
mistrhanky
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Originally Posted by Cotton McKnight View Post
You sir are correct, it is not hard to build a website now-a-day, there are so many websites that will let you build them for free drag and drop style.
Well, it is not quite that simple. To make it really useful, you need a robust, easy to manage scheduler and a good registration/online payment solution. That is all there to be had, but a drag n drop is probably not going to quite cut it. It can certainly be managed though.

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05-03-2013, 09:07 AM
  #30
Jarick
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I think a lot of rink issues could be cleared up with free online tools.

- Use Google Calendar to keep dates and programs current

- Use Blogspot to do your website, it's really not that hard and you can post updates while maintaining all your reference information

- Use Facebook and Twitter to communicate up-to-date information if need be

Granted, if you're trying to register guys online for a league or trying to run pickup hockey registration online, it's going to get complicated. But for most rinks that might have just some clinics and pickup times and what not, it's not that hard.

Hell, I have no problems with a local rink that just posts a PDF of its schedule for the next two months with stick and puck and open hockey times. Works just fine.

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05-03-2013, 09:33 AM
  #31
jordanking87
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my main gripe is the overall lack of employee training and lack of quality customer service. I tend to always end up deal with somone my age or younger (25) who seem to always give me the 'oh you dont know this already?!' kind of attitude...drives me nuts. Being as I work a service industry as well I canKt stand it when employees attitudes send the message that theyre more elite than i am or that i shouldnt be inquiring for further information...its just a lack of customer service...pathetic honestly

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05-03-2013, 09:35 AM
  #32
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And i know this is off topic...but its not just rinks these days its the majority of servers and other customer service positions where people just really dont care enough about or value their jobs anymore...."insert the 'what is america coming to?!' post" haha

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05-03-2013, 09:42 AM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanking87 View Post
my main gripe is the overall lack of employee training and lack of quality customer service. I tend to always end up deal with somone my age or younger (25) who seem to always give me the 'oh you dont know this already?!' kind of attitude...drives me nuts. Being as I work a service industry as well I canKt stand it when employees attitudes send the message that theyre more elite than i am or that i shouldnt be inquiring for further information...its just a lack of customer service...pathetic honestly
The running joke with my buddies at my rink is that they have "must be an entitled *******" written on all applications for employment.

There are a couple of good guys, but for the most part everyone is a miserable *****. Seems to be an epidemic in hockey rinks that I frequent.

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05-03-2013, 09:47 AM
  #34
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this must be an american rink thing? here in western canada all the programs that run out of the rinks are seperate from the rink itself. the program will rent the ice and thats as involved as the arena staff get.
I think this is the secret to success. A few rinks here in the Metro Detroit area have started using an outside entity to run their leagues and the level of organization has improved dramatically.

To echo the sentiments of other posters, there really isn't any incentive for the rinks to invest time and/or resources into running an adult league or clinics. I always call the rink before I do a stick and puck or drop-in because I know cash is king and if somebody wants to rent the ice they will win out over the handfull of guys that show up at five bucks a pop.

On Sunday nights, I go to a private drop-in and the guy who runs it has been getting 6:00 PM ice at this rink for about 25 years like clockwork. I have been attending for the last 5 years and we always have a good turn out and, until recently, have always hit the ice at 6:00 sharp. With the hard times that the rink has gone through in the last few years with the economic down turn and all, you would think they would be happy to have/retain a paying customer. Wrong. In the past year, we have been bumped numerous times and during the summer on a couple of occasions, there was nobody at the rink to let us in. When we do get on the ice we are lucky if we get a Zambo swipe... Unfortunately, it looks like a sign of the times.

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05-03-2013, 12:47 PM
  #35
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Hey guys

Reading through this I thought here is as good a place as anywhere to refer you guys to this website / app created by some guys I play with here in Vancouver.

http://www.hockey-community.com/

It's free to register and there is members from all over the world sharing games, teams, leagues, drop-in sessions, you name it. It's growing quite quickly and you can pretty much find information on ice times n such anywhere in the world and as it becomes more popular it will only improve with the number of people posting information on pretty much any type of hockey event in your area.

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05-03-2013, 02:39 PM
  #36
Wooty
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I have always figured that adult hockey, travel hockey, and figure skating are all for insiders only. To get into these activities it takes money and a good effort. Not only are they exclusive mentally, they take a good deal of money to participate, excluding someone who may need help to get involved.

You may get help that comes with spending money. For example the guy in the equipment shop may help you while you are buying stuff and giving him money but without that, there is no need to help you and where else are you going to get someones attention?

Pick ups become full and then they become closed. Adult teams, even lower level teams don't want the beginner to participate. Upper level teams are for friends only (and good playing friends too) If you want to get in a pick up you may need to know someone who knows who is running it to ask.

One funny I notice is that people who run hockey things never seem to realize that they need to say if things are for adults or children.

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05-03-2013, 03:23 PM
  #37
TickleMeYandle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wooty View Post
I have always figured that adult hockey, travel hockey, and figure skating are all for insiders only. To get into these activities it takes money and a good effort. Not only are they exclusive mentally, they take a good deal of money to participate, excluding someone who may need help to get involved.

Very true. When I first started, I played once a week. Until I knew the right people, there just weren't opportunities to play much more. Now I know a lot of people and even though I'm not a great player, I get invited to quite a few different things.

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Old
05-07-2013, 01:55 PM
  #38
UpGoesRupp
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Out in western Canada everything seems to run pretty smooth.

However, Our league fees are strictly for the ice rental and referees and the zamboni guy that has to stay late.

Aside from that, I was under the impression that the guy that ran our league wasn't getting paid and did it as a volunteer thing and got our program a deal on ice rentals. So I never really expected website updates/personal attention etc. The only real down side is sometimes you get called sunday at 3 and told your game has been switched from 730 to 1020 lol

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Old
05-07-2013, 02:43 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by ChiTownHawks View Post
The running joke with my buddies at my rink is that they have "must be an entitled *******" written on all applications for employment.

There are a couple of good guys, but for the most part everyone is a miserable *****. Seems to be an epidemic in hockey rinks that I frequent.
Is that one of the requirements for becoming a hockey parent these days as well? LOL. If you had to deal with all of these parents on a day-to-day basis, you'd probably be miserable as well. Some of us do our best to deal with it and keep that smiling face on... but it's hard, let me tell you .

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05-07-2013, 02:50 PM
  #40
tarheelhockey
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The sad reality is that there isn't a whole lot of money in hockey rinks.

That pretty much explains all of the issues. There isn't enough money to hire a web guy, there isn't enough money to hire decent employees, there isn't enough money to attract talented go-getting entrepreneurs. Low profit = low quality

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Old
05-07-2013, 03:12 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by Fanned On It View Post
Is that one of the requirements for becoming a hockey parent these days as well? LOL. If you had to deal with all of these parents on a day-to-day basis, you'd probably be miserable as well. Some of us do our best to deal with it and keep that smiling face on... but it's hard, let me tell you .
Good lord I can only imagine. I only run into them in passing but I can tell that many of them can be a nightmare.

I guess I should not paint with as broad of a brush. Most of the guys at my rink are ******, but there are a couple nice guys. It is however the exception and not the rule.

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05-07-2013, 03:37 PM
  #42
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Originally Posted by jsykes View Post

BTW, do any of you have any guesses as to what the general operating costs for a rink would be in a month? We have two sheets, I'd be interested in hearing what you guys think it costs, because when I took over this job, I was floored by it to say the least.

No but I'd like to know, I always knew it was really high, but I wouldn't know where to begin guessing. I know my local rink does OK though, it's a small community and the ice is always booked.

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Old
05-16-2013, 03:08 PM
  #43
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Facebook Updates?

My local rink has a Facebook page but for some reason rarely updates it even when there are problems at the rink. More than once I've taken time off from work, driven to the rink only to find a hand-scrawled sign on the door saying the rink is closed due to ice issues. I don't understand why they can't get someone to update their Facebook page given that you can do that from a smart phone (which 99% of high-school kids seem to have).

I'm fairly sure that my local rink loses significant amounts of money. Thankfully, someone with deep pockets has been willing to put up with those losses or there would be no ice for 80 miles. Thus, I don't want to be too tough on them, but they don't seem to be willing to make even minimal efforts at running the place like a business.

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Old
05-16-2013, 03:29 PM
  #44
Jarick
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Good news is those are opportunities for making money.

There are two people locally who became self-employed managing ice times and skates and have hundreds of people using their websites to play each week. They each started with an e-mail group and brought those people onto their websites, expanded with word of mouth, and are fairly successful.

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Old
05-16-2013, 03:43 PM
  #45
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I imagine that the opportunity to turn that kind of thing into a money-maker is much greater in the "Hockey State" than most places in the U.S.

But I hope not; I've been considering trying to do something similar myself (not necessarily to try to make serious money, but with the selfish interest of getting people together for skill-appropriate skates and maybe to cover the cost of my own ice time)

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05-16-2013, 05:28 PM
  #46
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Seems like a lot of the issues here are coming from U.S. forumers, so maybe it's the business model used by the rinks that are creating problems.

In Canada, or at least Newfoundland, the vast majority of the rinks are municipally owned and even the one's that aren't still operate in the same manner. They simply rent blocks of ice time to users and groups. For example, our rink accomodates minor hockey, a couple of men's leagues, broomball, women's hockey league, high school hockey and a junior B team, in addition to general skating and adult skating sessions. Save for general/adult skating, everything is run by independant groups who negotiate ice rentals from the rink. This way, everything is run by people who actually want to do it and the rink attendants just maintain the facility, clean the ice, etc...

It's much cheaper than employing people to run things and be on the ice as instructors, coaches, or what have you.

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Old
05-17-2013, 09:58 AM
  #47
Jarick
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Ours is the same way. There are tons or rinks, probably 20+ in a 15 mile radius, and just about every league is independent of the rink and schedules on their own. Except for the Blaine Super Rink which literally has eight sheets of ice and runs their own league.

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05-17-2013, 10:13 AM
  #48
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I think the issue in most parts of the U.S. is that hockey's just not popular enough for the rinks to be able to operate by simply renting out ice time to independent groups.

that happens to a certain extent with school teams and certain leagues, but the rinks all need (or maybe feel like they need) in-house program offerings because if they outsource all of the hockey to a thrid party, and it goes belly-up, then the rink is royally screwed - suddenly a huge chunk of their business is gone.

In an area where there's really no chance of the local hockey program going belly-up, there's much less risk in operating like that.

I do wish it could be that way though - it absolutely would mean better quality all the way around.

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