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Costs rising to run 100 Mile House Wranglers

The organization remains grateful to the community for their support
The South Cariboo Community Enhancement Foundation presented the 100 Mile House Wranglers with a cheque for $5,000 to help with travel expenses at out-of-town games. Expenses have gone up significantly. From left: Bruce Madu, SCCEF director, Greg Aiken, Wranglers president, Lisa de Paoli, SCCEF vice-president and Maddie Newman, SCCEF director. (Photo submitted)

The cost of playing hockey has risen sharply for the 100 Mile Wranglers over the last couple of seasons.

Transportation, food, accommodations and equipment prices have all gone through the roof, said Don Jones, the Wrangler’s marketing director. The team recently received a $5,000 grant from the South Cariboo Community Enhancement Foundation (SCCEF), enough to partially cover transportation costs of the recent three-night road trip the team made to Spokane.

“I just got the receipt just for the bus travel. It’s in the neighbourhood of $7,000,” said Jones.

Accommodations have also seen an uptick in prices with an $80 - $90 room last year now in the $150 range. The team books up to 15 rooms every night for the players, so three nights of motel rooms add up quickly, he said.

“Food costs on the road have skyrocketed, as has our main equipment that we purchased for the players. Good quality helmets because of the protocol for head injuries, concussions and so on - that’s really important these days,” Jones said. “So we buy a top-of-the-line helmet, and of course the face mask. Just our jerseys - we’re wearing a 10th anniversary home and away - we’ve got our home dark blue now, wear our whites on the road. We’re looking at two sets of jerseys and then the socks, of course, and that’s probably in the neighbourhood of $8,000.”

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Everything that is sport-related has gone up in price significantly, he said, adding that the overall budget for the year is probably going to be between $400,000 to $450,000.

Jones said the team has a great fanbase and on any given night between 350-400 people come out for home games. What people forget is that once season tickets are purchased at the start of the season, that money does not come in anymore.

Jones said that throughout the year they rely mainly on fundraising including 50/50 sales, the beverage garden, program sales, plus advertising sales. There has been talk of increasing advertising rates but the organization recognizes that even though businesses are struggling they still support the Wranglers the best they can. If they push up the price too much advertisers will say “hey, we can’t afford it.”

“And boy, without that advertising base, and without the fan base, we just couldn’t operate.”

Although not all are successful Jones applies for every grant he can find and is grateful for community-minded foundations like the SCCEF. “It’s great they’ll recognize our hockey club.”

The organization is in the initial stages of applying for a charitable donation status through the federal government. The benefits of having this status can’t be overstated, he said.

“For example, Canadian Tire sponsors hockey at basically every rink. You turn on the TV and you watch a hockey game, there’s Canadian Tire.” The first thing they ask for however when someone requests a donation is a tax number.

It will most likely be a couple of years before the team knows the financial impact of moving to Junior A hockey and what the league will expect of them. The organization is also aware that parents do not have a never-ending source of money but players need to pay fees to the club in order to play in the league which then gets turned around to pay the club’s league fees.

“Money comes in, money goes right back out again,” said Jones.

Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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