Everyone knows that travel is one of the most expensive components of any junior hockey budget. You have bus costs, hotels, meals, and additional expenses for your coaches and other support staff while on the road too.
Only ice costs rival the expense of travel. And you need both ice and travel expenses to away games in order to operate a team.
The KIJHL, made a few important moves this week.
They eliminated all cross over games between the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference and the Kootenay Conference. This will dramatically decrease spending for all teams whether they needed the budget reduction or not.
The KIJHL also reduced the schedule from 52 games to 47 games. This created a scheduling imbalance, but once again creates a cost savings for every team.
The KIJHL owners, unlike a lot of other owners in the business, made a very smart business move with both of these changes. They also did so by a vote of 18 to 2 in favor of the changes.
An added benefit of these changes will be the nearly complete elimination of weekday games. Weekday games are not only not good for teams financially, but place an additional burden on younger players who are also balancing educational commitments with hockey.
While some may not know this, these actions, may make the league become a more attractive Junior B option for many players. The changes fall more in line with what young development athletes are looking for by way of schedule.
The KIJHL has over the last 24 months been doing a lot more collectively to improve their product on and off the ice. It will be interesting to see where they end up in the annual 2016 Junior B League Ratings coming out in a few weeks.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher