The high cost of Minor Hockey

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Following up with our SaultOnline story called: Parents and SMHA at Odds, we’ve done some research into the pricing that the parents incur.

Some of our comments on the story have given proof of what the SMHA players’ parents pay, but is it relative to other leagues close to the Sault?

What we found is that it is. The reason the cost is much higher in the Sault is because of the distances that the players have to travel as compared the Nickel City Hockey Association and the Sudbury Minor Hockey Association. Sudbury is much closer to their opponents whereas the Sault is not. This means longer bus rides, more of them and more hotel nights.
This doesn’t however take away from the fact that the parents have called for transparency in terms of where their money is going.

“What we are saying as parents is we are paying for bus rides, extra hotel rooms… we can cut that budget in half,” if they were allowed more inclusion into the decision-making over the cost that the league asks them to pay, said Mark Matier who has a son looking to play in the Sault Major Hockey Association next year.

The parents are asked by the league to cut two cheques during the season to account for bus travel, league fees, NOHA fees, meals, and hotel rooms for the players. What that amounts to is between $6,600 and $7,600 per players depending on which team they make it on.

Representatives from Nickel City and the Sudbury Minor Hockey Association were happy to comment and give information on their pricing and the status of the lack of transparency with Sault Major.

“That’s not acceptable,” said Paul Vlahos, with the Minor Midget AAA teams in Sudbury. “If the board and the management are not proving a budget, that’s unacceptable.” Vlahos said that the Sudbury Minor Hockey Association does pay less than the Sault but it is relative because the Sault has to do more travelling than them.

A representative from Nickel City agreed on both matters but has found a way to make hockey cheaper for one Sudbury team.

Keisha Lagrandeur, manager of the Nickel City Bantam AAA Sons, says that her team has three major fund-raising events: a comedy night, lobster dinner and gold tournament that help to offset the cost to parents of players drastically.

“I also negotiate rates, I negotiate comp. for our hotels, meals…” she continued. Now Nickel City had a cap this year of $4,500 for each team as to what that league could charge a parent but it didn’t include hotels, busing and meals. But with her team, Lagrandeur was able to cut that price down quite a bit.

Stay tuned for more information as this story unfolds.

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