PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait-Richmond Minor Hockey Association (SRMHA) held its annual general meeting earlier this month, and president John Ouellette said his group is looking back at a positive 2017-18.
“It was a big year for us as we turned the corner financially,” he said. “We posted a couple years of losses and [had to use] accumulated surpluses. Last year, we increased our cost of registration, doubled the cost of our 50/50 tickets, and asked families to sell more 50/50 tickets.
“The result is that we’re predicting a surplus for the first time in years.”
The net surplus is $6,973.
Minor hockey’s expenses are pretty fixed, as the group pays for ice rentals and officials as well as shelling out to Hockey Nova Scotia for insurance. Those costs don’t typically go down, the president said, so finding ways to balance the books can be challenging.
With that, finding a way to encourage young people to sign up can be tough. Last season, the SRMHA was up to that challenge by icing its first girls team, and two girls teams (Atom and PeeWee) are expected to be playing next season.
Additionally, Ouellette said minor hockey is working with the recreation departments in Port Hawkesbury and Richmond to bring back recreational and house hockey.
Other new developments for next season include new jerseys, having all Novice hockey played in a half-ice format, and possibly bringing in a development co-ordinator to help with coaches, team selection, and player development.
“I’m looking forward to the year ahead, increasing the numbers a little bit, and having another good year,” Ouellette said.
Part of the AGM was dedicated to recognizing those who went above and beyond in 2017-18. The Trevor Wilkie Goalie of the Award went to Liam Burke, and the Leon Carter Coach of the Year award was given to Robert MacDonald.
“It’s rare to have a non-parent coach these days, but Robert is always willing to help out with any team,” Ouellette said. “He co-coached the Midget As this season with Leon Burt, and they had a great year. He lent a hand with other teams and ran our goalie clinic, so he was pretty deserving of the award.”
MacDonald not only volunteers with SRMHA but he’s also the bench boss for the Richmond Academy Hurricane hockey team, the Hurricane softball team, and is a fulltime teacher at Richmond Academy and Education Centre.
“We had a great year,” MacDonald said. “The kids were great, and a lot of them play both high school and Midget. It was the first time for some of those guys to win a championship, so that was good.
“Coaching has always been a passion of mine,” he said. “I love helping the kids develop skill-wise, and helping them become better people at the end of the day. That’s what I find most rewarding. Kids have to deal with a lot of stuff off-ice, a lot more stuff then when I was growing up, and it’s nice to help them through that. It’s always been my passion, so the extra stuff isn’t really work for me. It’s what I love doing, so I don’t mind spending extra time.
“I’m just happy I have a wife who doesn’t mind that either.”
The goalie award was also well-earned, Ouellette said.
“That’s not just for on-ice performance,” he said. “It’s also for volunteering in the association or doing other things. Liam was with Midget A this year, and they had a great year on the ice. They won their league, and he was a big part of that.
“He does a lot of volunteering with the Royals tournament that raises a lot of money for minor hockey, and he’s always willing to work with the other goalies.”
The board for 2018/19 was also announced at the meeting and it includes Ouellette, President; Leon Burt, Vice-President; Anne Marie Sampson, Treasurer; Natasha Mury, Secretary; Kelly MacIntyre-Hayes, Registrar; and Directors John Campbell, Angie Matheson, Todd MacNeil, Jennifer Phillips, Robert MacDonald, Dwain Shannon, Rodney Diggdon, and John Grimes.