Pictou Minor Hockey working to get out of debt

Published on March 3, 2014
Pictou Minor Hockey vice president Shane Sponagle sells a BIG 50/50 ticket to Kim Jenkins-Billick. The Minor Hockey Association is hoping to sell all 5,000 tickets and give away $12,500 to a lucky winner. SUBMITTED

Pictou Minor Hockey is in a bit if a hole financially, but are working their way to get out.

Shane Sponagle, vice president of the minor hockey association, says a continuous cycle of debt has plagued the association for a number of years, but through some major fundraisers this year, they hope to break out of that tradition and end in the black this year.

“As most of you are aware, the minor hockey finances are not in the best shape,” he wrote in a letter to some of the parents of the kids he coaches. “The basic math no longer works.”

He explained that it cost minor hockey more for ice rentals, insurance, Hockey NS registration and coaching clinics than it takes in from registration (including the money draw tickets). For the past number of years the rink commission has been carrying a debt owing from Minor Hockey.

“This year, however, due to their own financial situation they are not able to carry us. The reality is, by carrying the previous year’s debt over to the next season they are just allowing us to never catch up on what we owe,” he said. “Pictou Minor Hockey needs to be financially viable and without raising registrations, which we feel we can’t do, the only other option is fundraising. Our goal this year is to try and end the season with a zero balance. That is why we started the Vesey Seed campaign and the Big 50/50. It may come down to a handful of us selling tickets at Sobeys and the mall to make it happen, but we do need to raise this money. Coming up short year over year is a vicious, unsustainable circle and we have to break it.”

The Pictou Minor Hockey Association met with the Hector Arena Rink Commission on Feb. 12 to talk about the situation and told them of their plans to make things right.

“The Hector Arena rink commission has been great to Pictou Minor Hockey over the years,” Sponagle said. He said their concerns were legitimate, but after talking it out, he believes everything will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

Some parents have expressed frustration that they have to suddenly do a bunch of fundraising they didn’t expect, but most are understanding, he said.

Right now they have revenues of about $80,649 and expenses of expenses so far of about $89, 283.

Their biggest fundraiser is a 50/50 for which they’re selling 5,000 tickets at a rate of $5, which will give them a chance of making $12,500.

“We’re hoping by bringing these programs in we can end the year with a zero balance.”

He’d like to see the same fundraisers continue next year as well to keep them in a positive financial position.