In the B.C. Hockey League this season, if you want to play you’ve got to pay.
Teams have been forced to charge their players monthly fees during these pandemic teams, knowing their usual main source of revenue - game ticket sales – is not available to them due to a provincial health order which forbids crowd gatherings.
Hockey parents who have foot the bill year after year in minor hockey to pay for icetime, equipment, travel and accommodation usually see that drain on family finances diminish when they produce a player good enough to play junior A hockey. But not this year.
That’s motivated a group of former players in the league who make up the BCHL Alumni Association to do what they can to reduce those player fees. They’ve set up a GoFundMe page that’s just started collecting money from private donors to assist the players.
“We understand the difficulty that this pandemic has caused everyone, especially financially,” said BCHL Alumni Association member and former Victoria Grizzlies forward Madison Dias.
“BCHL players and their families are in a tough situation trying to make ends meet, while also trying to give their sons the best opportunity to further their hockey careers. That’s why we’ve set up a GoFundMe where people can donate money to directly help these players in this difficult time.”
The goal is to raise $50,000.
Dias, a former Victoria Grizzlies forward who played three seasons in the BCHL (2008-11) before starting a four-year career playing at Cornell University, is one of the driving forces of the Alumni Association.
“The BCHL was so important for me in my development as a hockey player and for me securing an education at Cornell, which has allowed me to explore opportunities beyond hockey after my playing career was done,” said Dias. “We all want to give back to league and to the players in those communities that supported us over the years and we thought this would be a great way to accomplish that.”
Other members behind the fundraising initiative include former Cowichan Valley Capital/University of Notre Dame defenceman Shayne Taker; ex-Victoria/Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Derek Lee (2006-09), who played at the University of Wisconsin; and defenceman Jake Baker (Merritt Centennials, Nanaimo Clippers, Victoria, Trail Smoke Eaters, 2009-11), who moved on to Northern Michigan University. Baker currently serves as the BCHL’s co-ordinator of financial services and events.
The GoFundMe page is at gofundme.com/f/bchl-player-relief/donate.