I know you are busy discussing forum policies (of which I am a big fan!), but I figured Id drop a comment about Jasons original post.
Ive used Elite Email Marketing, Constant Contact, and tried Bronto. Of the three, Id recommend Elite Email Marketing. Dont get me wrong, all of them are very good programs, but, as you said, the service Eliteweb provides is just much better. And, just to alleviate your worries, Im past my free-trial and havent noticed a dip in customer care one bit.
As Bob said, you can, of course, just use a program like Outlook to send your messages. I prefer one of these services because for the price I pay, the emails look better, I get a subscription center (this lets people unsubscribe which helps ensure Im totally Can-Spam compliant), and a bunch of tracking tools.
The one thing Ill warn you about all these services, which Bob also mentioned, is not to use them for spamming. If you buy one of the get 50 million addresses for $9.99 type lists and try to use these programs, they will all catch you. (And the last thing we need is one more spammer!) But, if youre using it to help run your hockey league, then that shouldnt be a problem and I think youll be really happy.