JMS Hockey Blog

JMS is a pickup hockey league

Month: January, 2010

The NEW Notify List

by barbaragarn

The waitlist is gone and has been replaced by a better and more useful tool!

In the past, the waitlist was not automated: I didn’t want people to get moved from the waitlist to the main roster without knowing about it. So I asked Andy to design the system so I could contact folks individually and confirm that, yes, Bob will take the now-open spot for tonight’s skate. As you can imagine, this was rather tedious micromanagement.

The other problem was that I had to keep checking the waitlist. Constantly. Take a nap on Friday evening and wake up to see I have three sessions with one open slot and a bunch of folks on the waitlist. Or even for sessions days ahead. I’ve heard many of you express frustration– “I’m first on the waitlist and there are two open spots, am I in or what?”

Or the reverse happens: someone cancels an hour before icetime and I waste time calling three people on the waitlist only to hear “I forgot… I made other plans…” Argh, and on to the next person on the list, as the clock ticks and more people make alternate plans.

Clearly, things need to be managed better.

The new system is the best way to fill an open spot: just sign up for the notification, for as many sessions as you want. No charge.

From the [url=]FAQ

7e. How does the Notify List work?
When someone cancels from a full session, everyone who signed up for the notify list will receive an e-mail. This is your prompt to log into the JMS website and sign up to take the spot.

While signing up for the Notify List does not debit your account, you should make sure you have funds in your account to cover the icetime signup fee if you receive a notification message. Google Checkout can take 20 minutes and other people from the Notify List will also be trying to sign up for the same spot.

Being on the Notify List is not a guarantee that you will play. Do not just show up at the arena.

7f. So, I’m on the Notify List. How do I know if a spot opens?
Wait for the e-mail. Do not just show up at the rink!

I can’t predict cancellations. They happen when someone has car trouble or gets sick or has to work late or gets injured. As soon as someone cancels, the automatic Notify List will send an alert to everyone who has asked to be notified about the session.

7g. How do I cancel from the notify list?
Log into the system, and click [url=]Manage Notifications, on the splash page, top right under “Member Links.”

7h. I think I signed up for the Notify List, how can I tell?
Log into the system, and click [url=]Manage Notifications, on the splash page, top right under “Member Links.”

With the Notify List, skaters AND goalies will not have to wait for me to inform them of an open spot. I won’t be calling folks who already made other plans. I’m very excited–this change will benefit everyone.

The only significant change is that there is no longer any priority derived from when people signed up for the list. Given the hardships (significant time lag to contact people based on list position, having to start over when they have made other plans, programming the whole mess), I decided to abandon the numbered waitlist and move to a simpler method that just fills the spot–skater or goalie. The new system also benefits the bottom line: I’ve lost no small amount of money because I was calling skaters, in order, to fill a spot, only to run out of time and then hear later that someone far down the list was dying to play. Argh again.

The new system is evolving and we appreciate your patience and feedback. Post comments here; we will be monitoring the discussion and responding as we’re able. We’re already thinking that the goalie portion of the Notify List may need to be tweaked to benefit their special circumstances, so watch for continued developments and improvements as we tweak the site to function better and better.

And of course it would never have been done without the genius of Andy Baird’s programming, the man behind the scenes who never gets enough credit for how awesome the JMS website is.

Fogerty Level 3 attendance woes

by barbaragarn

It took a lot of work (by Trevor Tjemeland) and money (from JMS) last fall to kick off the Fogerty session.

Signups were strong for a while there but now, alarmingly, have fizzled off. I thought it was stable but with recent turnouts at rock bottom again, I’m seriously considering allocating those JMS funds to another session somewhere else.

I love the idea of pushing JMS out into the burbs so folks can skate close to home; Fogerty was one of the flagship examples of that goal. But with recent low numbers I’m starting to think that doesn’t matter, or doesn’t matter enough.

What’s behind the downturn?
(And don’t say it’s the hours, because we had some 10.20 start times with full rosters even a month ago… these recent sessions have been 9.40 and 10p starts, with a mere 14 or so skaters. It’s not the start time.)

Are people interested interested in having a Fogerty session… but not interested enough to sign up?

The bottom line is that Fogerty has had a good chance for success, but I’m not going to run a session that can’t pay for itself… just can’t subsidize local hockey that way. If Fogerty doesn’t turn around very soon, I’m going to have no choice but to pull the plug on it.

When Goalies Cancel

by barbaragarn

This isn’t about any goalie in particular, but it’s time to discuss.

Everyone appreciates goalies so much–the game just isn’t the same without them. But at JMS (and other pick-ups), goalies don’t pay. So there’s no incentive for them to NOT bail from a game.

The problem is when this is very close to icetime–they have such an important role that their absence means we MUST find a replacement. And short notice is really tough.

I also know that goalie spots at JMS are at a premium, and sometimes people will grab one early, just to get it, and then bail later (argh, close to icetime! so I have to scramble!).

When a goalie bails, it can affect skater signups, too. I know people have told me they won’t sign up for a session with just one goalie (and I’ve also had goalies tell me they won’t sign up for a session with low skater numbers… thus creating a head-exploding paradox where no one signs up).

I don’t want to charge goalies, not ever. But I also want to cut down on the number of goalies who drop out close to the session start time.

Suggestions from both goalies and skaters?

Under the hockey tree

by barbaragarn

As hockey-crazy Minnesotans, I know your holiday gift-giving (and receiving) included stuff related to our favorite sport.

What was waiting for you under the hockey tree? A new composite? Sleek [url=] Grafs, or innovative [url=] Thermablades? Wild tickets?

Or were you naughty, and found only an old, battered puck in the toe of your stocking?

And for sharing the hockey spirit–did you give bounteous gifts of NHL jerseys and fresh, new gloves? Or only [url=] tape and [url=] laces (praise be, finally available in another color besides pink).

How was your hockey holiday?

Hockey Resolutions

by barbaragarn

What are your hockey resolutions for the new year?

I will skate at least three strides before passing the puck.

I will remember to skate with my head UP.

I will sharpen my skates regularly… and remember to bring them with me to the rink!

I will not retaliate.

I will start jogging again to improve my hockey endurance.

I will LOOK before I pass.

I will wash my gear once a month. Or at least the cloth pieces.

I will eat better on game day.

I will eat better AFTER a game (no pizza mania!).

I will aim where the goalie is NOT!

Your hockey resolutions?