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Junior Hockey financially impacts a community

On Tuesday, Apr. 19, the Neepawa Town Council decided to cut funding to two major local organizations, namely the Viscount Cultural Centre and the Neepawa Natives Junior Hockey Club. 

Both groups function only because of hundreds and hundreds of hours of non-paid volunteering. Each group, in their own way, makes a huge contribution to the community. The impact to the community morale is huge and the economic implications are even bigger.

I am sure there will be figures to come out about VCC, but here’s the impact that the Neepawa Natives and their “joined at the hip partner”, the Yellowhead Centre, have in this area. Other organizations and other communities will see a parallel. I think perhaps the town’s decision was the wrong one, but maybe there are other ways to work things out. 

Neepawa Natives economic impact – 1989-2016  / Yellowhead Centre economic impact – 1971-2015

The Neepawa Natives Junior A Hockey Club has been operating since 1989, playing out of Neepawa’s Yellowhead Centre. The team consists of at least 23 players, a head coach, an assistant coach, a general manager, a director of player personnel, bus drivers, scouts and trainers. Only the head coach and assistant coach receive salaries, the other positions are volunteer. Trainers receive an honorarium. There are approximately 100 volunteers, including 14 board members. The team plays 30 home games, 30 away games plus exhibition games. The team also holds a spring camp attended by a 100 players and nearly twice as many parents as well as a summer Top 50 Prospects camp in Brandon and a fall try-out invitational camp.

Neepawa Natives expenditures 1989 to 2016 – $6.2 million*

*The majority of this $6.2 million has been spent in and around Neepawa for billets, equipment, ice rental at the Yellowhead Centre, salaries and team expenses. Economic studies show that money spent in a local economy has a 1:7 ratio, that every dollar gets circulated seven times. That means that the Neepawa Natives have generated an economic impact of over $42 million in the area since 1989.

Revenue generated at the Yellowhead Centre 1989 to 2016 by the Neepawa Natives

Ice rental          $459,000

Concession revenue    $364,000**

Total              $823,000

**The concession revenue doesn’t include exhibition games or spring and fall camps.

The Yellowhead Centre was developed in 1971 from the old Neepawa Salt Plant. Throughout the 45 years it has served the community, the YHC has generated $11.8 million, mostly spent locally back into the community through wages, construction materials and services. Again, using a 1:7 ratio, that means an economic impact of over $82.6 million. Together, the Neepawa Natives and the Yellowhead Centre have had a huge economic impact on Neepawa and area.

It should be noted that over the years, the YHC has gone through some periods of significant debt. By having the Neepawa Natives bring in over $800,000 to the YHC, the Neepawa Natives made a significant contribution to the YHC debt re-payment. Due to that economic activity of the Neepawa Natives and the many other user groups and customers over the years, along with diligent management, the YHC is debt-free today.

The Neepawa Natives need some help so they can continue to contribute to the economic well-being of Neepawa and the YHC.

There are several ways that help can come about. A person could:

1. Buy a season ticket.

2. Buy a team sponsorship for their farm or business.

3. Sponsor a player’s billet costs at $350 per month.

4. Loan the team some money at a reasonable interest rate.

5. Make a donation to the Yellowhead Centre and receive a charitable receipt.

Call me at 204-476-3401 with your questions and ideas.