The business of junior hockey in Virden

Virden Oil Caps hold first AGM, share news and changes

The Virden Oil Capitals hockey club held its very first annual general meeting (AGM) last week with players, staff, scouts and board members on hand.

Jamie Hodson, Director of Business and Hockey Operations, says the board chose to have a public AGM this year, "to make things more transparent with our fans and our community. It opens the door and gives our fans more of a sense in ownership of the hockey club.  This is a time for fans to ask questions and voice concerns or suggestions as well.”

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About 30 people attended the meeting, a number Hodson expects to go up at future AGMs.

The business part of the meeting resulted in some revelations about what goes on behind the scenes at the Oil Caps organization:

-The Caps operating expenses for last season were $670,000, a figure that puts them in the top third of MJHL teams across the province. Hodson says being in the company of the top teams in the league shows the club is a first-class organization that isn't taking shortcuts. (Normally the team runs an operating budget of around $560,000 but the long playoff run last spring bumped up expenses.) 

-The team has made a profit in two of its six years in Virden.

-Most of the team's revenue comes from three sources: Marketing partners (sponsors), ticket sales including season tickets, and the Crop Club (now discontinued, details below).

-Some new events have been added to the Caps 2018-19 calendar: A Halloween game Oct. 31, an Ag Summit, and a weekend road trip for players and their dads in February, 2019.

-Budget factoids: The Caps spend $25,000 a year on hockey sticks alone. Running the team bus costs $35,000 a year. Billets cost $60,000. Staff salaries total $200,000.

-The team sells a lot of season tickets - 568 so far this season, a number they're thrilled with for a market this size.

Crop Club gone

The Crop Club has been a big part of the Oil Caps revenue stream for five years, bringing in $40,000 a season. The team would rent farm land each year, work with ag partners on a trial field with different varieties of seeds, and the hockey club would reap the harvest revenues. 

That endeavor is now being replaced by a one-day Oil Caps Ag Summit scheduled for Nov. 15 at TOGP. The event will include an agriculture trade show, keynote speakers, supper and an auction, capped off by a Caps game against the Steinbach Pistons (playoff rivals last season).

Hodson says there was a need for change because the Crop Club took a lot of volunteer time and effort. But will the Ag Summit be as lucrative?

"We're not sure how much to expect, it may break even or be in the black. We just want to have a great day and see what comes out of it."


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