The Battlefords North Stars held their AGM last night at the Civic Center. Several announcements were made and almost all of them were news that can be described as good to great.
First some bad news. Cheri Lynch has stepped down from the board of the North Stars after roughly 16 years. That’s a blow for the Stars but Lynch will still be at the rink and involved in the team. She will continue running the scoreboard and doing the stats. Which is in the great news category as it wouldn’t be the same at the rink without Cheri around. Thanks for all the hard work you’ve done Cheri and will continue to do in the future.
The North Stars announced a contract extension for Coach Hasselberg. This is fantastic news for the club. It gives them stability at the head coach position to go along with Blair Atcheynum. The coaching staff for the North Stars is one of the top groups in the league and I guarantee no one works harder than Coach Hasselberg. Others probably can and do work as hard but from what I have seen I would be very surprised to find the Stars coach being outworked. On a personal level I am very happy to be able to work with Coach Hasselberg, and Atch, for the foreseeable future. I enjoy spending time with them both on a professional and personal level.
The Stars head coach was originally signed to a two-year contract. Going into this season Kevin would have had one year left on that deal but the board extended his contract by another two season through the 2014/2015 season. According to president Ray Adelman the board began discussing the extnesion around Christmas and moved forward with the offer after the season. They didn’t want to get involved in discussion on the contract during the season or playoffs. Coach Hasselberg said it was a family decision but that he and his wife, son and daughter were all pleased to be able to extend the contract here in the Battlefords. Coach Hasselberg also said that this community “grows on you” a sentiment I can completely understand and agree with. It grows on you quickly.
Typically Kevin was also quick to point out that he will to continue working to bring a winner to the Battlefords.
The North Stars also announced yesterday that they have hired a full time Athletic Therapist. Michelle Beatty is the new hire who will replace Dale Jackson. Coach Hasslberg was quick to point out that Dale Jackson was and always will be a great part of the North Stars program. His enthusiasm was contagious and I know Michelle will have big shoes to fill. But having someone with her qualifications is a big step forward for the program as well as having a full time therapist at the disposal of the players.
On Dale Jackson coach Hasselberg said, “First we want to recognize Dale Jackson and the work he did for our program. He was extremely dedicated and hard working.”
Coach Hasselberg said, “We are excited to bring somebody that has a degree and that’s trained and educated specifically for this position. And also has the experience to follow working with university hockey teams and junior ‘A’ and junior ‘B’ programs.”
For more on Beatty check out the release from the North Stars at http://www.northstars.ca
And perhaps the best news of the day was the North Stars financial report. Thanks in large part to the hard work of the; board, the players and the staff of the North Stars, the team saw a huge financial turn around this past season. Another MASSIVE thank you for the turn around goes out to you, the fans. The previous season the North Stars made 14,000 dollars in gate receipts from playoff games. This past playoff run saw the North Stars make a little over 100,000 dollars in revenue from playoff gates. Couple that with a large reduction in expenses, a solid crop from the Ag project and other revenue increases (Hot Stove Lounge revenue was up $40,000) and the North Stars made a $189,000 turn around. At this time last year the North Stars were $69,751.72 in debt. They are now $37,501.31 in the black. They have money in the bank where at this time last year they were surviving on a loan.
Now a long playoff run helped with that turn around. Of that there can be no doubt. But just going on that playoff run wouldn’t have been enough. They needed the fans to show up and you did. 15,132 of you showed up for 7 home playoff dates. And that’s incredible. That’s an average crowd of 2,161 fans per game. The North Stars fans helped take this team from debt to very solid financial footing. Over $100,000 dollars in playoff gates is mind boggling.
As a fan of this team you should be, and I am sure you are, very excited by this news. This will allow the Stars to continue to be a top notch SJHL program and to improve the program moving forward. I am still beaming and I had nothing to do with it. The fans, board, staff and players of the North Stars should be commended and should be very, very proud. Well done.
Finally a personal note.
I have been saying for a while that being in the Battlefords is one of the top spots to be to cover Junior ‘A’ hockey not only in the SJHL but anywhere in the country. The people I work for and with, the hours I work, they job I get to do, the team I am privileged enough to cover. Also the players, coaches, staff and fans of this team are amazing as well. Everything is top notch. And last night’s meeting just proved that fact even more.
This team is moving very much in the right direction due to numerous people working hard and pulling in the right direction. I am please to be able to cover this team for the coming season and into the future.