North Stars AGM

The North Stars Annual General Meeting was last night at the Civic Center. The team has a new executive following the meeting.

Troy Slywka is the new president and takes over for Darren Huxley. Hux did a fantastic job with the team and with the ice fishing derby over the years. He will be tough to replace but I am sure Troy is up for the job. Slywka will also serve as the team’s Governor which means he is the Stars voice at SJHL meetings. Shandon Riechert is the new vice president and alternate governor.

Other members of the executive are Tanner Daniels who is the new second vice-president. Karen Reis is the treasurer and Debbie Presesky is the secretary. In total there are 13 board members.

As for the financial situation, the North Stars lost money last season. The loss of nearly 8,000 dollars came mostly from down years for the Ag Project and the Ice Fishing Derby. The weather on the day of the Ice Fishing Derby probably kept away some walk up types from participating and I am sure that near blizzard hurt the Stars profits from that event.

As for ticket sales at the door, sponsorship dollars, overall attendance, 50/50 revenue and the golf tournament? All were up compared to the previous season.

The North Stars have information that suggests it costs them 9,000 dollars per game to run the team throughout a Junior A season in the Battlefords. That means an operating budget of nearly 500,000 dollars. It also means that the team really relies on the fan and corporate support to make junior hockey work. The economic benefits to the area from having a team are positive. The SJHL has data that suggests the team generates a benefit of 150,000 dollars for the Battlefords with another 195,000 dollars of indirect benefit.

So what does that all mean? The North Stars are still in a strong position and despite losing a little money this season are still financially viable. The team made a lot of money during the 2011/2012 season when they went to the North final before losing to Humboldt. It’s my understanding that the team was able to bank some money that season and had a cushion.

You are always hoping to see the team make money each season though in order to stay in a stable financial situation and to be able to continue to build a strong team on the ice. So in the coming season let’s once again hope to see the crowds, 50/50, and sponsorship money rise. with a little more luck on the Ag project and Derby that would lead to a strong season for the team off the ice. I have a feeling this is going to be a very good season on the ice starting in late August and at this time next year we will be talking about a massively successful 12 month period in North Star history.

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SJHL AGM Notes

The North Stars and the SJHL released some info about the upcoming season following last weekend’s AGM.

In terms of the schedule, the Stars will once again face Kindersley 8 times, Notre Dame and Humboldt 6 times. Unfortunately it appears that the Stars also have to face Flin Flon and Weyburn 6 times each. Neither of those teams is an ideal match in terms of travel. Although for Flin Flon there aren’t many options in that regard. I know the Bombers also like to play in the Battlefords right before Christmas so that they can then drop their players off at the airport so the ones that need to travel by air can return home for Christmas holidays.

But if the SJHL is smart and has the North Stars face Weyburn and Flin Flon at the SJHL showcase in Warman that will eliminate some of the extra travel for the teams. It is cool that the Stars announced 3 neutral site games. Perhaps that means that the Stars and Notre Dame will continue their tradition of taking the SJHL to new parts of the province? Two seasons ago it was Edam and this past season Carnduff as the two teams played on Hockey Day in Saskatchewan.

Getting so many Friday and Saturday night home games can only be a positive development for the North Stars. Presumably, the more weekend home games they have the more people will come to see the team play. And an already very stable franchise will continue to remain viable in this market.

As for the showcase I mentioned, I couldn’t be more pleased that the SJHL has gone back to a more traditional format. Each team will now play 2 actual games at the showcase event which means, provided they are healthy and in the lineup, just about every player in the league should be seen by the scouts. That’s just so much better than having to pick a few players from each team to send to the event. From a broadcasting perspective there will have to be some work done to get things in Warman ready and set up but that’s a minor issue that shouldn’t be too hard to solve. All in all this move for the SJHL, the showcase, the scouts and most importantly the players is a positive one.

For more on the upcoming season check out NorthStars.ca and be sure to purchase your season tickets for 2015/16!!!

SJHL Draft goes tomorrow

The inaugural SJHL Bantam draft is all set to go tomorrow in Nipawin.

The draft will be 6 rounds long with the North Stars holding 5 picks. They traded their 3rd round pick.

I spoke with GM and Head Coach Kevin Hasselberg earlier today about his strategy heading into the draft. Like most of the SJHL staff, Hasselberg does not have any previous experience with a Junior ‘A’ draft. He says the Stars have made a list of who they think are the best players and will work from that list to make their selections. He also said the Stars will try to focus on local players from the surrounding areas. Hasselberg says easy travel for families to come see their kids, potential relatives in the area, and other business factors means players from surrounding areas make a lot of sense.┬áBut that strategy could change if those player have been selected by other teams. The North Stars will be prepared to draft any player that they think can be helpful to their organization in the future.

The SJHL will still have an auto-protect system so young hockey players from the Battlefords will still be property of the North Stars when they turn 15.

Once a player has been selected by the Stars and placed on their list, the Stars will then begin the process of building a relationship with the player and his family.

With the GMs and coaches around the league all together you can expect some interesting discussions to take place and potentially some trades as well with draft picks recently being moved in a big deal between Estevan and Kindersley. More deals of that nature could be on the cards this week in Nipawin.

The SJHL will take care of their scheduling meeting this week as well. That will take place Friday, also in Nipawin.