The Death Pool – Free To Play Canadian Junior A Hockey

Its another glorious Monday morning isn’t it kids?  Yep, nearly every Monday throughout the year we get to sit back and watch over some team or league either on life support or tossing some dirt on the casket.  We get a laugh and our Monday looks better than the Monday for the team or league we just buried.

Well, today isn’t a day that’s meant to be funny at all.

Canadian Junior A, or Tier II Hockey is struggling financially.  Now before you start yapping about how good your team is doing, I am talking about the whole level in general, so step off the high horse there Chester!

So looking at things, kids and parents these days look at Tier II like the NAHL in the United States, and the BCHL, and so on, like its some thing they are owed, or are supposed to have.  The almighty “free to play” hockey.  Well I hate to break it to you kids, but you aren’t owed anything, and you don’t deserve to play hockey for free.

“Free to play” junior hockey was developed around $50 an hour ice fee’s, $25 sticks, and .50 cent a gallon gasoline.  So when was the last time you saw those prices?  Yeah, those prices have gone the way of the dinosaur and they don’t exist any more.

So all through minor hockey you pay to play, you practice two or three times a week, drive yourself to games and showcases until you get to the AAA levels and you take a bus while paying more.

Yet, you expect to play for free when getting to Junior A or Tier II?  You expect to play for free when you are taking coaches, flying, practicing four times a week, staying in hotels, eating meals, getting equipment, getting high level coaching, and teams are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars?  Yeah, I want more than I have ever gotten before but I don’t want to pay for it.  How stupid does that sound?

Now some people are gonna get pissed at me for writing this, but when you hear about storied franchises on the verge of going under because of this screwed up way of thinking, you have to look at it from a realistic standpoint.

For those of you that don’t know, the Weyburn Red Wings in Saskatchewan are about $168,000.00 in the hole this year.  Yep, that’s a lot of money.  This team has been around for 54 years!  54 years of producing NHL, and NCAA players, and they are in trouble.  The real problem is that they are not alone.

While some teams at this level can operate with an annual budget of $200,000.00, many operate closer to $600,000.00 and the average is around $400,000.00.  Yep, these are no small dollar amounts kids.  Take into account that nearly all teams have seen attendance drop, and corporate sponsorship dollar amounts drop along with the economy, while all other costs have gone up, and you have a recipe for disaster.

While some leagues and teams now charge a fee to play at this level, usually between $3,500.00 and $5,000.00 per year, many of those teams are still struggling.  You cant make a $200,000.00 budget on $3,500.00 per year per player and only get 400 fans per night at home games.  Just do the math.

Gone are the days when owners are willing to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in perpetuity.  Most owners don’t mind a loss here and there if the team is winning and benefiting the community, but no smart business person wants to lose money forever.  Smart business people didn’t become successful by throwing money away.

So, the next time you think you deserve something for nothing, try pulling into the car dealer and trading in your fifteen year old station wagon for a new 2015 Porsche and tell them you don’t want to make any payments.  See how that goes over.

The old saying is true.  You get what you pay for.  If you don’t pay for it, it usually gets repossessed.

David Wagner – The Angel Of Death – For Those Who Live Stupidly I salute You

*The Death Pool is a mix of comedy, and satire in connection with recent events.  It is not an official report of current events although it may look as though the news is so accurate that it could one day happen or may be happening.

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