Cui Bono? – Part 1
(Latin Meaning “For Who’s Benefit”)
Actually, most people or “players” benefit and the opportunity is there for all to gain benefit.
Hockey (as well as many other organized sports) can provide many wonderful experiences and great life long lessons. Aside from keeping kids occupied and away from video games or hanging around the plaza, they are engaged in a physical activity that affords the opportunity to learn responsibility, discipline, work ethic, team work and much more.
The More Important Question Is….
Who’s Making Money?
The answer is everyone (and I mean everyone) and the parents are the ones who are paying all of the freight.
The Store that sells the skates and equipment is making money. The guy that sharpens the skates is making money. The hockey schools are making money. Everyone is making money.
Now there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this. Presumably, the store that sells the skates and equipment provides knowledgeable staff along with good prices and service; the guys that sharpens the skates does a great job at a reasonable price; the hockey school has well run and disciplined teaching sessions at a reasonable price and you see your child improve. The beauty of this is that if any time you do not receive the quality, utility or value desired; you can take your business elsewhere and you can do that immediately.
Who Else Is Making Money?
A relatively new development is paid coaches at the minor levels of hockey. In the good old days coaches were all volunteers. I’ll cover this at another time because the there were a lot of changes at the time that this developed and it requires a lot more discussion.
The GTHL is making money. The GTHL runs the largest minor hockey league in the world with over 9,000 players made up over 500 teams at the A, AA, and AAA levels. To their credit, they provide audited yearly financial statements, however the statements are not exactly detailed and I don’t know how many people actually ever look at them.
The individual organizations that are member clubs of the GTHL are making money. Interestingly, there is a GTHL Rule that the member clubs have to file financial statements to the league every year, however it seems they are most interested in financial viability of the member clubs for the upcoming season. Also, I find it very interesting that the League rules have quite a bit about governance requirements regarding financial procedures and disclosure of the individual team finances within the League’s member clubs.
Both the GTHL and the member clubs of the GTHL are supposed to be non-profit organizations.
This Is Important
One thing you need to understand that once you sign with a member club of a hockey organization you are signing a league card binding you to that club for the entirety of that hockey season. And by the way, you do not get to test drive a team. Unlike with the sporting goods store, the hockey school or the skate sharpener; you’re stuck. You cannot just go pick up and play with another team in mid-season if you’re unhappy. It’s not impossible to get a release and play with another team, but no one is going to make it at all easy for you and your options are limited.
In the next part I’ll continue with the theme of “Cui Bono” and talk about the interesting transformation of what started as local community based hockey organizations.
There’s a lot more to come.