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Friday, January 27, 2022

Lakefield Minor Hockey has big plans to increase membership


Lakefield Minor Hockey (LMH) has big plans to up their numbers and become a staple in the community once again.

On May 23, Miguel Hernandez Paz, president for LMH along with Rejeanne Martin, publicity director for LMH, gave a delegation to Selwyn council to update the township on their plans for the future of the organization.

Hernandez Paz said that LMH has a new executive and they have a vision of bringing the association back to what it once was.

During his presentation, Hernadez Paz said that LMH made the tough decision to keep registration fees the same, actively choosing not to raise prices.

“A little footnote is that we are the cheapest program in all of Peterborough County. When the year ends, our parents have spent less than at Douro, Ennismore, Peterborough, Apsley. Just to throw that out there, everybody else raised the prices. We did not. We kept it down and we decided as a team that we’re going to do other things like tournaments and other revenue streams to try and grow that dollar.”

He stated that LMH has decided that they will host ball hockey tournaments and other activities throughout the summer as a way to raise funds while actively trying to increase registration numbers.

“We see a lot of ambition and a light at the end of the tunnel...We’re averaging about 150 registrants. About five years ago we were averaging 180. In the early 2000s we were breaking 300. We want a three year plan of making sure that we get back to that 300 registrants and really get Lakefield Minor Hockey thriving again.”

He said that they plan on doing this by bringing value to residents of Lakefield.

“As Lakefield seems to be getting a little younger we have a lot of active parents and we are all sharing that vision. So the first year we have implemented a ton of community events. I have rekindled the relationship, if they’re even was one, with the LCS (Lakefield College School), we’re going to start a ball hockey league this summer. We will make sure that, in a fun way, we are getting aerobic exercising for our children. So they are in better shape for starting but more importantly we are starting their community partnership and making us become more aware and relevant.”

After LMH’s delegation, Coun. John Boyko asked Hernandez Paz if there has been any consideration on amalgamating LMH with Ennismore Minor Hockey and the cost benefits that would involve.

Hernandez Paz answered by saying that there have been discussions around amalgamation, creating just a single minor hockey league for the township of Selwyn rather than having two. However there are concerns that if that should happen, the borders for kids to register would change.

“We have to be wary of being part of OMHA (Ontario Minor Hockey Association) and realigning our borders. Will we lose our townships and cities and little hamlets to the north and they all have to go elsewhere? That will be for OMHA to decide. We have applied to leave our league at OMHA hockey and move over to the Durham league which will make us a little bit more competitive, which I feel will bring more registrants. But yes, it’s (amalgamation) definitely on the table.”

Deputy Mayor Ron Black also spoke to the delegation stating, “It’s also great to hear that you’re focusing also on low cost programs for kids. Anybody that’s had a kid in minor hockey or played at the higher competitive levels, there are buses to pay for and it really is limiting for a lot of young families to have the kids get into hockey because they know at some point if they’re good, it’s going to cost a lot of money. So having those other activities such as your ball hockey program and you’re partnership with LCS, it’s a great idea that also grows more interest in getting kids started in hockey.”

Coun. Mary Coulas also asked Hernandez Paz if any consideration has been given to ice time stating, “…where does ice allocation policy fall into this. Because if you increase your numbers, you’re going to need more ice time. And I know that Ennismore is spending over 20 grand to go elsewhere for ice time. So what does that look like for us and how can we help you?”

Hernandez Paz responded, “I asked that of my previous executive and there is ice time on the table. If we allocate it to Lakefield Minor Hockey. Because we’ve had such low numbers, we were able to sell back ice, we were able to not put our name down on certain hours. Now, those hours may not be Thursdays at 7 o’clock, it might be Saturdays at 8 a.m. but so be it, if the parents are asking for more ice time and the numbers are growing, they’re not going to say no. And we are going to take a crack at those hours that we were originally not putting our names on.”

LMH’s delegation was received for information.

To watch the full delegation, visit the townships YouTube channel at youtube.com/SelwynTownship.