Minor hockey in great shape



The South Dundas Minor Hockey Association has come out of a good year, reported treasurer Pam Mullin at the Association’s annual general meeting last Tuesday, April 8. As a result, all players registering before the July 1 deadline will do so at last year’s rate.

“We ended up in a favourable position this year,” said Mullin of the decision to offer the savings. “We have a little over $4,000 in the bank and over $40,000 in GICs. This gives you a safety net going forward if you want to keep the rates down for a year or two.”

“That is despite the fact that numbers have been declining slightly each year,” she said. “Two years ago, we had 210 players, last year 203 and this year, 198. It hasn’t affected our numbers very much because we have become very smart about how we do things.”

A big factor that helps the association financially is sweater sponsorships. This year, the association received sets of sweaters donated by The Canadian Tire in Morrisburg, Canadian Tire Jumpstart and Harland Veinotte Transport. 

“Our ice rental cost is lower, and that is partly because Jason [Broad] did a good job,” said Mullin. “Jason was aware of where we wanted to be and didn’t book hours at the end of the year for two or three players to show up.”

This year’s total ice rental cost was $74, 665 compared to $78,024 in the 2012/13 season and $83,035 in the 2011/12 season.

The next biggest expense was for referees which this year came in at $16,851 up just slightly over last season’s $16,007. Insurance costs were $6,750 and league fees were $1,896. 

Registration fees from the 198 players brought in $80,578 and $39,800 was raised in the Fundraising Lottery Draw. Lions Day contributed $1,114 to the pot and $828 was made at the Association’s lone tournament (Novice Bs in January). The Association received $1,196 in donations and sponsorships from the community.

While finances look good for this season, Mullin advised the association to stay on top of expenses. She cautioned on the size of coaching staffs as insurance has to be paid on each one.

President Jeff Van Moorsel said the association benefitted this year because the Upper Canada Minor Hockey League and District One, “both had money which they didn’t spend so they lowered their fees.”

However, he warned the $27 per player/coach Insurance Fee is going up to $41. “Only a portion of this ($11) is actually for insurance,” said Van Moorsel. “The rest goes to the ODMHA (now Hockey Eastern Ontario). They are jumping it the $14 because they have entered an arrangement to help pay for a rink in Orleans. It isn’t going to benefit any of our kids, but six or seven of our kids fees will be going to pay our share of the rink in Orleans.” (HEO is running a deficit of $221,574 for the 2013-14 season and listed in their budget expenses is $260,000 for the construction of a new office at the facility.)

Van Moorsel also said he didn’t expect the ice rental fees in South Dundas would increase for next season and cautioned that there are several uncontrollable factors that affect the bottom end.

The main swing comes in ice usage and the biggest factors here are how Christmas and New Years fall, and how many teams and how far they advance in playoffs. If the Christmas holiday cancels weekend ice rental which is a big chunk of ice time, then this results in savings.

“If your insurance costs go up $2,800 ($14 per player) and you have six or seven kids less next year, it doesn’t take long to swing,” said ice scheduler Jason Broad.

Van Moorsel also advised that a vote is coming up at the Upper Canada Minor Hockey League level that if successful will see the regular season schedule go from 24 games to 28.

This will extend the season an extra two weeks into February (about the 21st) before playoffs start. It means that while only four teams will advance to playoffs, overall all of the players will benefit from playing the four extra games. 

Although he did not say how the local association planned to vote he did say, “this is a way to keep all the kids playing hockey in meaningful games until later in February. The way it is now, the season is done February 8, and as an association you still have lots of ice time.” The proposal would add two away and two home games for every team so it will affect the ice budget.

Referee in Chief, Lisa Schwerdfeger reported that “all went well. We had a good season and are now collecting names for new referees. We have yet to see how many are coming back, but we usually take on three or four new officials per season.”

Registrar Jennifer Veldhoven-Kyle reported she is preparing for the upcoming registration at the Morrisburg arena on Saturday, May 3. She expects that two registrations in Iroquois when soccer season starts. 

Fundraising chair Joanne Backes reported that ticket printing and lottery licencing is underway for the annual Lottery Draw, and equipment manager John Connors reported he is still in the process of collecting sweaters.

Ice scheduler, Jason Broad reported, “we fell in under budget and most of the teams got all the ice time they wanted. Over 26 percent of our home games were re-scheduled. It was a lot of work, but we did it.”

1st VP Mike Domanko reported that the association had only one tournament which was successful and profitable. He plans to again submit a request for the January time slot for the upcoming season. Various trophies and plaques have been purchased and engraved, and Domanko is continuing to collate information for returning coaches from the feedback forms.

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