Staying afloat

Bradley Bouzane
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Avalon East league needs Herder success to stay in the black

Another tight affair in this years Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy championship series means another financially-viable year for the Avalon East Senior Hockey League, says president Joe Maynard.

With the provincial senior hockey championship being decided between the highly-competitive Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars and Deer Lake Red Wings, the dollars kept flowing at Mile One Centre for the three games played at the St. Johns arena in April.

Maynard said about $100,000 was made by the league over the three games, but added most of that isnt sitting in a bank account collecting interest.

Financially, (the Herder) was successful to a point, but we have a lot of dispersal of funds, and by the end of it, theres not much left, Maynard said. It doesnt take much for $100,000 to go.

This year was a little better than last year, but over the past few years, weve been in the 14,000-15,000-person range (at Mile One) each year.

About $45,000 goes towards bills for the teams (for travel, meals, etc.), while another 10 per cent of the revenue made over the series goes to Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador. Deductions are also made for ice time for games and practice during the season and payment of officials, which all totals more than $30,000.

With some 15,000 tickets sold for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the Herder final won by the CeeBees at Corner Brooks Pepsi Centre the teams do find some benefit from having the event hosted at venues other than their home rinks.

We give each team a dollar from each ticket thats to be spilt between the (home) team and the rink theyre coming from, but its up to the team what they want to do with it. Last year, the CeeBees gave it all to their rink, Maynard said.

While Maynard couldnt give exact numbers, he estimated the difference in profit margin if the participating teams used their home rinks S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in the case of the CeeBees would be huge.

He said the league would fail to pay its expenses if Mile One Centre was not used for the provincial senior hockey championship.

In fact, the $9,000 paid out for officials services during the season could not be paid until the money made during the Herder was forwarded to the Avalon East league.

Thats why we made the change four or five years ago, Maynard said. The home rinks are the rink of choice until the league champion is decided. Then we made a conscious decision as a league to move it to a place that could hold (thousands) of people.

The agreement between the league and Mile One Centre is renewed every year, and Maynard said the league will renew again soon for next years event, which will again be played during the first three weeks of April.

The Herder is really the only thing that keeps us going, he said.

Home-ice advantage alternates each year, so while Mile One hosted Games 3, 4 and 5 this year, it will have the first two games, as well as the final two contests, if necessary, for the 2008 championship.

He said the unpredictability of the series will likely account for any extra money that comes out of more successful years.

Next year, for example, should the series end in quickly, Mile One would host only two games resulting in a loss of thousands of dollars for the parties concerned.

Therefore, he said any revenue garnered from ticket sales, or other activities such as 50/50 draws which brought in upwards of $9,000 each of the three nights would go towards league expenses, or into a rainy day account for shorter series which is a concern for Maynard.

Its possible we could get four games (in 2008) and its possible well only get two games so thats why the money part of it fluctuates from year to year, Maynard said. Weve been lucky over the past few years to get six or seven games, but you could only a four-game series. You could have a situation where the two teams arent competitive and you might get 3,000 people per game, so weve been lucky.

All revenue from concessions are funneled directly back to Mile One Centre, so that does not factor into the equation for the league.

Maynard said the league needs the kind of financial success it has seen at Mile One Centre is recent years to stay above water. He realizes the situation is a fragile one, but hopes people understand the need for a little monetary padding for the league.

When youre running an organization and youre in the black when the year is over, youre happy, he said. This has to be run as a business look after the expenses and hopefully you have a few dollars to start off next year. Thats where we are.

Organizations: CeeBees, Avalon East Senior Hockey League, Corner Brooks Pepsi Centre

Geographic location: Avalon East, S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium

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