Found money: minor hockey finances get a $163K boost

Mooretown Sports Complex

Find won’t translate to lower costs

Heather Wright/The Independent

The Mooretown Minor Hockey Association suddenly has $163,000 in cash. But it doesn’t mean parents will be paying less for hockey this year.

The MTMHA recently went to St. Clair Township council saying it was in financial difficulty. Interim President Marty Passmore said the association was planning a 25 per cent hike in registration fees but, after the rising cost of ice time and referees, the organization would be left with just $1,000 in the bank at the end of the year.

The association asked for the township to freeze ice time rates at their current levels for two years and to work out a way to defer payment of the ice time which is booked for the summer. It normally has to be paid in advance.

And it was looking for help to subsidize registrations.

Council asked staff to look at the ramifications of the request.

But late Monday, officials with the minor hockey executive sent an email to parents saying there was more money available than expected – $163,139.39 more.

“Our online payment platform had not been depositing our funds from player development and fundraising money,” the letter stated. “Contact was made with the company and funds were released to our account that total $163,139.39 that had been held since 2020.”

The board apologized for the “deeply concerning” error which was found as the board prepared for the annual general meeting May 1.

The letter went on to say the board is taking a number of steps in the wake of the financial error including hiring an outside firm to audit all of minor hockey’s books.

The board’s finance director will also be required to report directly to the board on all transactions which will be approved or declined at every board meeting.

“We are actively looking for a new online payment platform for the 2024-2025 season,” the board adds in its letter, vowing to have all the account information available at the annual general meeting.

MTMHA is also rolling back the 25 per cent registration rate increase. The registration will climb 15 per cent this year with the board cautioning “rising costs will result in continued fee increases in the future, as we are running a deficit with this reduction.”

And while the cost of registration will be reduced, some families will face even higher fees than first expected for the 2024-2025 season.

The board says the jerseys the players use need to be replaced and it’s moving to a “family-purchased custom jerseys and sock” next hockey season.

“As a sign of good faith, the board will purchase one of the two required jerseys,” the board says noting it will cost the association $50,000.

But it will also cost parents.

While the fees for the youngest players remain under $350, the registration for every player over nine years old tops $1,100 for the next year, with the cost of the jersey and socks included making Mooretown’s fees the highest in Lambton County. Petrolia’s is second at $800 per season.

And, even with the lower registration rate increase, families will be paying $9 more than with the 25 per cent rate increase.

Mooretown Minor Hockey’s Interim President, Marty Passmore, was not available for comment by press time.