Winfield Minor Hockey Executive Update January 2021
January 2021 Update
Reflecting upon 2020 we have used the phrases “global pandemic, unprecedented, uncertain, and new normal”. 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for everyone, including our Association. My message today is to bring light to the current hockey situation as well as to provide a financial update for the 2021/2022 season.
As everyone surely remembers, March 2020 brought a complete lockdown. As of late spring, the Association was not sure what hockey would look like this season. The greatest hope was that we could get our kids back onto the ice to continue skill development and not lose an entire year to the persisting lockdown.
Over the course of the spring and summer, under Dr. Henry’s guidance, British Columbia was successful with keeping COVID 19 numbers under control. The end of August brought a glimmer of hope to the possibility of return to practices and try outs. This was a welcome development and was as much as we could have hoped for.
By the end of October – discussion of “return to competition” within specific 4 team cohorts was an amazing development given our initial concept of 2020 being a development year focusing on skills.
However, the end of November brought a disappointing turn with games being cancelled as COVID numbers were increasing. December saw the return to ViaSport Stage 2 where we had been in August, with zero competition. It has been an emotional roller coaster for players, parents and the Association.
We must consider the positives of this season so far in that each player within Winfield Minor Hockey has had the opportunity to be on ice 2-3 times per week since September including skills development time with Next Level. If someone had told me back in June that we would have all 14 teams practicing consistently from September to December with no interruptions, including game time against other communities… I would have called them dreamers.
As we look forward into the start of 2021, my hope is that the residents of BC have abided public health orders over the holiday season, and we see a resultant decline in COVID case numbers. If that proves true, we would anticipate Public Health and ViaSport will be able to introduce a more relaxed version of their current youth sport restrictions. It would be wonderful to return to some sort of competition before the end of the season, but the health of our community is paramount. With multiple vaccines coming online, we are crossing our fingers that there will be a much more normal hockey season next year.
Looking forward to the 2021/2022 season, your Winfield and District Minor Hockey Association Board of Directors can always use new faces and fresh ideas. This association is a non-profit organization, run by dedicated volunteers who donate their time. The Executive positions can be challenging but it is rewarding to be able to give back to an organization that provides so much to our children. Our AGM is held in May and there will be several positions coming up for election. If this is something that interests you, please let one of the existing board members or our administrator know.
Challenges face Winfield and District Minor Hockey as we move forward into 2021, primarily financial. To provide some background information for those who may not know – Winfield Minor Hockey and Pursuit of Excellence (POE) Hockey Academy shared a symbiotic relationship for quite a few years. POE and other private hockey academies were required to register their players through a minor hockey association such that they could officially be registered with Hockey Canada. For several years, the additional registration fees paid to WDMHA allowed us to create a “rainy day” contingency fund. As this fund grew, the board at the time, decided to reallocate the funds to provide “value added” skills developments for our membership. Over the last few years we have introduced Next Level Hockey as skill development coaches and hired a dedicated goalie coach to run our goalie clinics. During the middle of the summer shutdown, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey changed the registration requirements for private hockey academies such that they are now able to do this independently. This news came as a complete surprise and occurred after WDMHA had committed to our annual budget, including skills development commitments and operating expenses. This will not be an issue for the 2020/2021 season due to prudent financial management over the last several years. It will, however, create a challenge to maintain the services that players and coaches have become accustomed to at the current registration fee structure. The lost revenue amounts to approximately $140 per currently registered player. For 2021 – we will have to be creative. For the Association to break even, there is a strong possibility the registration fee structure will increase while a reduction to the value-added development services will occur. This is not great news for the Association, but this is the reality we are faced with. It was a known risk that POE could leave Winfield or cease to operate, but we anticipated having more notice than we were given. Additionally, we could not forecast the loss of revenues from our sponsorship and advertising programs or the reduction to registration numbers. One of our responsibilities as a Board is to be stewards of the membership finances. Our focus is to ensure the success of the Association through these challenging times and the years to come.
We are looking forward to the remainder of this season, and to what is hopefully an “old normal” 2021!
President, Winfield and District Minor Hockey Association