Merger of six youth clubs has gone smoothly thanks to work of webmaster Mary Helmick
Program director, registrar
Helmick grew up in northwest Iowa, a farm girl whose only exposure to hockey was what she saw being played on nearby Lake Okoboji. She attended South Dakota State University, where she attended the occasional adult hockey game. She didn’t get full exposure to the sport until she was living in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park with her husband and two sons. “We happened to be building a new home just down the street from where a new rink was being built,” she said. She remembers taking her oldest son to a minor league game in Kansas City. “He said he wanted to do that,” Helmick said, “So we signed him up for some lessons, and away we went.” Helmick volunteered as a team mom that first year, and her role in Kansas City area youth hockey has progressively gotten more and more involved and complex over the years. Along with serving as program director and registrar for the Kansas City Youth Hockey Association, she has administrative roles with the Kansas City Stars Hockey, Kansas City Ice Center and the Midwest Amateur Hockey Association, among other organizations.
In July of 2015 six Kansas City-area youth hockey clubs merged to form the massive Kansas City Youth Hockey Association (with more than 900 skaters, it is the largest youth hockey association the central Midwest). Helmick said it was important for each of the member clubs to maintain their individual identities. Logos for each club are displayed at the top of the home page, and they serve as links to each club’s landing page. “There is a lot going on with the website because we have so many clubs,” Helmick said. “We try to keep the home page as simple as possible. It is very easy to get to what is going on with your own club by just clicking the logos as the top.” Helmick said credit for the professional look of the streamlined home page goes to Dawn Fortner, who manages the graphics and pictures for the association’s news items. Helmick manages the registration for all the member clubs, another process she has simplified as much as possible by creating one all-encompassing registration session. “Everybody has a different fee structure, so when they register they enter their contact info and then if they are registering for house or travel leagues. The next question is, ‘What club do you play for?’ ” Helmick pulls specific information from each club’s registration through Survey Reports. She posts those reports on private pages, then gives access to each club’s administrators. “It has been a godsend to be able to combine everything into one database,” Helmick said.
Helmick routinely mirrors information between several of the area’s hockey sites. As an example, much of the the same tournament information appears on both the the Kansas City Youth Hockey Association and Kansas City Ice Center sites. “It is just so easy to update one page, and there it goes on all the others,” Helmick said.