First, the Fort Frances Girls and Women's Hockey Association (FFGWHA) would like to thank the Fort Frances Times for its outstanding coverage of the local sports scene and, in particular, coverage of FFGWHA events.
The FFGWHA recently wrapped up a very successful 2017-18 hockey season and we held our annual general meeting on April 18. The Fort Frances Times attended this open meeting and reported on the meeting in the April 25 edition of the Times.
The article captured the meeting quite well, however, there are some points the FFGWHA would like to clarify.
As reported, I have taken on the role of president of FFGWHA. The previous president was Helena Guertin, who now has taken on the role of treasurer. Ron MacKinnon is the FFGWHA past president.
The article mentions player fees increasing. These player fees mentioned are not to be confused with the FFGWHA's annual registration fees. Hockey Canada, the Ontario Hockey Federation, and the Ontario Women's Hockey Association (OWHA) are increasing their fees next season by a net combined total of $5.50 per player for total annual player fees of $53.
These player fees are paid by the FFGWHA to OWHA, out of the FFGWHA's annual player registration fees.
Despite a fee increase, the FFGWHA is able to absorb the increase so that it is not passed onto its membership.
The article mentioned the “PeeWee/Bantam Showcase" and hotel rooms being an issue. As with many weekends during the winter, it often happens that multiple events are happening at the same time. The weekend of the "PeeWee/Bantam Showcase” was no exception.
Other associations that normally would attend our tournament advised the FFGWHA that when they went to book hotel room blocks in the fall of 2017, they were unable to secure hotel room blocks for their teams due to lack of hotel room availability in Fort Frances.
As a result, they ended up attending other tournaments.
With respect to the tournament fees mentioned, it was reported in the article that tournament fees increased from $750 to $1,500. This actually is a great thing for the FFGWHA and its membership! This actually is a tournament subsidy and the FFGWHA allotted $1,500 (up from $750 the previous year) to each and every FFGWHA team to go towards paying out-of-town tournament entry fees—meaning this money did not have to be collected from the families of each team.
This is a direct result of our “Radio Bingo” success! Close to $18,000 in tournament entry fees was paid out of Bingo revenues!
The FFGWHA board of directors approved the increase from $750 to $1,500 mid-season, after tournament fees had been collected from teams, hence why refunds are being issued to families.
Finally, the article mentioned the success of our annual “Radio Bingo" fundraiser. As an association, we are very fortunate to have this fundraiser, which was launched in the fall of 2015. Annually, our game winners collect $60,000 in total winnings over 20 weeks of "Radio Bingo.”
The revenues that are generated go towards the aforementioned team tournament entry fees ($18,000), graduating player bursaries ($11,000 awarded this year), replacement of aging equipment (mostly goaltending equipment), the inclusion of a fall development/conditioning camp at no additional cost to families, and some of the lowest registration fees in the region.
Plus families benefit from discounts for multiple children registered and goaltender discounts.
Over the three seasons of “Radio Bingo," we have collected a substantial amount of data on Bingo cards sold; we are using this information to better understand our Bingo-playing audience, when we see dips in player numbers and when we see peaks. We do know we have a very loyal "Radio Bingo” player base, for which we are very thankful for their support throughout the winter!
If anyone has any questions, we will do our best to answer them. See you at the rink!
On behalf of FFGWHA,
Fort Frances, Ont.