Oakville Rangers Response to Membership following November 20th Communication, News (Oakville Rangers Hockey Club)

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Oakville Rangers Response to Membership following November 20th Communication
Submitted By Melissa Wolk on Monday, November 23, 2020
Addressing common misconceptions and misinformation.  Financial position of the Club and common finance related questions. 

Thank you for your feedback on the programming changes that were necessary for our Club. To help prevent the spread of misinformation, we are proud to share further details surrounding the current situation with our Rep and House League divisions.


Addressing Common Themes of Misinformation


Myth: House League funds are used to support Rep.

Truth: 100% of rep programming is paid for by the rep families. At no time are house league funds ever used to support rep. Our financials are audited each year and discussed openly at the Annual General Meeting to which each Club member is invited to.

Myth: I paid my House League registration fees and now the season is canceled.

Truth: House League is NOT canceled. We have been forced to postpone the season until we are given the green light to restart. Each player will receive 100% of the programming they signed up for once the season begins again. The $480 registration fee covered 10 games and 10 practices (20 on-ice sessions), plus jerseys and a percentage of the Club's fixed costs. When normal operations resume, you will receive the balance of your on-ice sessions. If the season does not resume,you will be provided with a refund reflective of how many sessions remained in your registration.


Myth: Rep is continuing to play while House League was forced to stop.

Truth: Rep is not continuing to ‘play’. All games and scrimmages are canceled.Sadly, when the Provincial mandate restricted us to 9 players on ice the ice cost per player skyrocketed. Given our mission of delivering fun, affordable hockey, House League sessions are now no longer feasible until we get back to having more players on the ice.Rep teams, however, are entirely funded by the families of each team. Those teams that opt to continue to practice despite the temporary increase in costs per hour are choosing to doso. Club members should rest assured that no Club funds are being directed to one program over the other.


Myth: Rep is given preferential treatment.

Truth: The Club invests a significant amount of time, energy, and funding to our 4-8-year-old age groups – before Rep and House League divisions are even offered. Our goal is to make hockey as inclusive as possible through subsidized player fees and equipment programs for those that cannot afford it. We also invest heavily in professional on-ice development for these younger ages.

Rep is not given preferential treatment. Extreme care is taken to ensure each division receives the exact number of hours paid for, and each division has highly qualified coaches. We are extremely proud of our House League division and strive to ensure they receive the best hockey experience in Canada.

The Rep division – due to the smaller size and 100% parent funded model – were able to continue with practices with significant changes to the teams and at extra fees to cover the costs of splitting teams and doubling ice. Rep players are having to pay more to keep practicing if they decide to continue in the division.

This was not a possible solution for House League for many reasons including:

· House League is significantly larger than the Rep division

· Splitting each team into 9 players would effectively double the number of teams and ice rentals required to keep House League practicing

· This would require a doubling of fees to cover the extra ice – increasing fees are to be avoided based on House League parent directive

· Doubling the number of ice rentals was impossible for the Town of Oakville to fulfill

· Doubling the amount of House League teams would result in many teams in many divisions without coaches as volunteers with proper screening and accreditations would not be sufficient enough to run the program

· The perceived additional ice that some of the rep teams received was the result of a re-allocation of ice amongst the rep program.Some of the older age groups and tier 3 and 4 teams REDUCED their ice and other rep teams (tier 1 and 2) picked it up (as well as the additional costs)

Myth: Our House League Player has nowhere to play now

Truth: We have created an outstanding House League Skills Academy run by amazing coaches and will be available for your House League player for the next several weeks. Your initial House League registration fees will be utilized when the season finally commences (or the unused remainder will be refunded should it be canceled entirely). In the meantime, this new skills academy is an optional way for players to continue on-ice safely. Many other sports organizations here in Oakville and across Canada have adopted this same model to help with this current predicament.

In fact, many other House League organizations closed the 2020 season until at least January as they could not make the numbers work for HL under the restrictions. In most cases, they have not offered any programming in its place.We were adamant we offer House League to our Club and attempted to run it as best as possible given the situation.


Rangers Financial Position and Common Related Questions


Among the many issues we are all managing through the pandemic, financial concerns are certainly among them. As such, we thought it might be helpful to provide some high level information on the club’s financial position and approach. Here are some key points:


1. With over 3,300 players, the Oakville Rangers is one of the largest minor hockey organizations in the country, where our House League represents nearly three quarters of our membership. This affords us economies of scale for the costs of ice, uniforms and other expenses

2. Our club is a non-profit organization. All programming is designed to breakeven financially so none of what members pay is for profit margin. This of course helps keeps the costs down

3. One of the key attributes of the club is its volunteer network. As a community program, the Rangers benefit from hundreds (even thousands) or hours of time donated by people helping the club operate both on and off the ice. Again, this helps keep the costs down

4. The club treats House League and Rep as two separate cost centres where the programming of each one is designed to breakeven on its own. Therefore, we do not subsidize the programming of one stream with the revenues of the other

5. While we do not aim to make profits, we do need to maintain a financial reserve to allow for the timing of money coming in and out and to stabilize the club in times such as these where the costs of operating exceed the revenues. A typical recommendation for a non-profit organization such as ours is to have a reserve around 1.5 times the fixed costs of running the club for one year. This would allow us to survive in a year where we could not offer programming such as we have nearly experienced this season

6. Fortunately, our club reserve was healthy heading into the pandemic, and so we will remain in a good position regardless of whatever lockdowns we may experience in the new year

7. In a typical year, the cost of delivering hockey is around 60% variable (for ice time, referees/timekeepers) 20% for upfront costs at the start of a season (uniforms, OMHA fees, insurance, credit card fees and development clinics) and the final 20% is for the fixed costs of operating the club (office costs, employee salaries, legal, audit, marketing etc.)


The above facts should help club members to understand some of the challenges faced this year in particular and help to explain some of the questions that have arisen in this unusual season. For example:


“Why have costs risen this year when we have no uniforms and less games?”

This simply comes down to the cost of ice per player. In a typical season, the ice for a House League game would be shared by about 30 players, 15 for each team. If the ice costs $250 on average for an hour, then the cost per player is $250 / 30 or around $8 each. When we were forced to play with cohorts of ten, then a House League game that still costs $250 would be shared by 20 players, 10 on each team. Then the cost per player rose to $250 / 20 or about $12 each. This $4 increase per player per game is a 50% rise!Over a 40-hour season of 20 games and 20 practices, it adds around $160 to the cost to play


“Why are rep teams continuing to practice while House League teams are not?”

Sadly, when the provincial mandate further restricted us to having 9 players on ice (and one coach) that $250 cost for one hour now skyrocketed to over $25 per player. Given our mission of delivering fun, affordable hockey, House League sessions are now no longer feasible until we get back to having more kids on the ice.Rep teams, however, are entirely funded by the families of each team, and so where some of those teams opt to continue to practice despite the temporary increase in costs per hour, that is their decision to make. Importantly, club members should rest assured that no club funds are being directed to one program over another


“Why do my House League registration fees remain as a credit instead of being applied to the skills clinic?”

As mentioned above, the $240 fee that was paid recently contributes to both practices and league ice time and to upfront and fixed costs. The clinics, on the other hand, are only charged for the incremental cost of the ice and instructors. Once a club member has paid annual registration dues, they have already contributed to the overhead of the club and then can take advantage of this additional program at a more affordable price. But if only some players elect to join the clinic, then we would have the complicated task of providing partial credits to some people and not others. It is more transparent to offer the clinic to those who want it at a separate price that covers our clinic-specific costs and then provide every club member a credit for what they bought in the first place when we can resume play.


The pandemic is a challenge for us all but please accept that as a community-based program, the club is continuing to operate in good faith to provide fun, affordable hockey for all.


We hope that this communication helps to clarify the Club's position and provide rationale to the decisions that we have had to make.


Stay Safe and Stay Well.


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