Newsflash... it takes actual money to operate a junior hockey team.
Despite popular opinion that Tier III and Junior B hockey is a sure bet path to millions of dollars, teams require a large amount of start-up capital to get the season going.
This tidbit of information keeps getting overlooked by owners, and even leagues, all across the country.
Today is July 29th and and we are still hearing about teams without any kind of marketing budget, business development plan, season tickets sold, or even a clue. How can that be? These are the same teams that enjoyed the summer break in the pool instead of getting out and selling their program to prospective prospects. Coaches are scrambling to dig up players when they should already have a full roster. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this same line. "We can't advertise now because the money does not come until the players get here." Are you kidding me? Other teams purposely don't even bother to have a phone number on their website to avoid too many calls.
I have to believe that some teams are destined for a huge failure. Why? Because they continue to depend entirely on the player fee for 100% of the team's operational expenses. That is not going to work. There is more to junior hockey (or any business) than throwing up a website and calling it a day. These guys can expect to come out of pocket with $100,000 or more for each team, to have a successful program. I'm not sure that most owners have the liquid capital required to start each season.
There are more than one non-sanctioned, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey sanctioned clubs out there with the cash problem. We are hearing about a number of teams struggling to locate heartbeats to fill their rosters...and make the budgets.
Player Development is more than just a flashy title and pay to play junior hockey is a very competitive market. Let's face it, if a player's parent has the ability to pay, finding a team is not a difficult task. It is a buyer's market for financially sound players. A lot of these teams have unique situations that could be very attractive to prospective players and parents. Teams that are trying to stock their team with a dinky site, Facebook, and direct telephone contact are missing the boat.
The next few weeks should be interesting; there are a number of teams that are going to fall by the wayside. For those that have fought to even get a team and are way behind, the devil in the details is going to bite them in the ...
Author: Stephen Heisler
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.
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