The District of 100 Mile House Council passed a proposal for a monetary assistance program to help Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) teams with out-of-province travel expenses.
The proposed KIJHL “Out of Province Travel” reserve fund will be able to assist KIJHL teams during the playoffs.
“All of the expenses are on the team and they need money to travel,” says 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall.
“It becomes very costly for teams to go to different areas.”
The plan would be for each KIJHL team community to pitch in $500 a year into a fund that could be used by teams travelling to or hosting events like the Cyclone Taylor Cup or the Keystone Cup.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers Junior B Hockey Club was one such team that endured financial struggle during its stellar 2016 playoff run.
Councillor Spence Henderson came up with the proposal during this playoff run.
“I thought about it after realizing that the Wranglers were having more success than we had financially anticipated,” says Henderson.
“There wasn’t any more season income funds left when [the Wranglers] started travelling to these tournaments. It could have almost backfired if they didn’t have the backing from the community to continue.”
The trip alone to Regina where the Wranglers won the Keystone Cup on April 14 cost approximately $27,000.
“It is very expensive for Junior B teams to travel and compete provincially,” says 100 Mile House Wranglers president Tom Bachynski.
“This [fund] is a great idea.”
To help cover the expenses, Bachynski and the Wrangler association carried out several fundraisers.
In total, they raised $18,000 to help with the Regina travel costs.
“There was tremendous support,” says Henderson.
“Just looking at the team’s importance to the community and how the community got behind the team was amazing.”
Henderson also suggests that some of the reserve fund go towards teams who are hosting tournaments.
The host teams make no money, Henderson notes.
While there was some financial assistance from the British Columbia Hockey Association, The Victoria Cougars paid for nearly all of the living accommodations while hosting the BC Provincial Cyclone Taylor Cup on April 7-10.
Henderson further suggested Hockey Canada should match the funds raised by the KIJHL communities.
“I have talked to some people in Hockey Canada about the plan. It would be great to have them match.
“Small communities like 100 Mile House or Osoyoos or Summerland don’t have the same access to funds like other places do.”
If every KIJHL team agreed and Hockey Canada were to match the estimated funds raised, the reserve fund could be as much as $18,000.
Now that the proposal has been passed, the council will begin contacting all KIJHL team communities to determine if there is sufficient support to establish the reserve fund.
Chief administrative officer Roy Scott says that if the council finds sufficient support, then discussions about the specifics of the fund can begin.
“If we can gauge the interest of other communities, we can get the ball rolling on this.”
The Wranglers will begin its 2016/17 season in Osoyoos on Sept. 9.