FUNDRAISING EFFORT GETS HOCKEY TEAM BACK ON THEIR SKATES
The Albany club hockey team raised over $30,000 to get back on the ice on the brink of facing their team’s extinction.
In their 2014/15 season the team learned that their then president was academically ineligible. With that being said he left the team and his responsibilities were never filed. Bookkeeping, team dues, scheduling and the team’s budget were all left up in the air without anyone filling the void. No formal budget was submitted for the 2015/16 season without the knowledge of a lot of the team’s members.
At the beginning for the 2015/16 season the team needed money from the Student Association to be able to play their season. The SA was reluctant to give the hockey team money, as no budget had been submitted, and they made them promise to raise $30,000 and collect dues so the team wasn’t in debt.
They failed to hold up their end of the bargain and that’s when the Student Association decided to pull the plug. At the end of the 2015 fall semester the team learned that their season was going to be cut short.
“They basically called in our e-board members and said you guys will not be eligible for a year,” said Brandon Glasser, a Senior captain on the team. This is Glasser’s third season on the team since transferring as a Sophomore from the University of New Hampshire.
Glasser and the rest of the team had the wind taken out of their sails, but were determined to get back on the ice and in good standing. From there the team had several fund raisers and become more accountable in paying their dues.
Newly elected team president, Bradley Sherman, changed the mindset of the organization and established more accountability.
“We were digging ourselves deeper and deeper in this hole,” Shermen said, admitting there needed to be a change. “Finally myself, Frank LaMarca and a few other e-board members got together and agreed that we need to fix this.”
That’s when they reached out to ASPEN, the luxury apartment complex across from UAlbany’s main campus. ASPEN put the team directly in touch with the Albany Devils and established a relationship between the two hockey clubs.
Understanding what hockey meant to the team, the Devils let the Albany club team sell game tickets and 50/50 tickets with a portion of the proceeds going directly to the team’s cause to get back on the ice.
The team still recruited players not knowing if they would be able to play, but everyone understood what they had to do in order to lace up their skates.
“We recruited kids even though we had no program to go to,” Sherman said. “We got everyone together and told them the story.”
Sherman told the newcomers and the veterans that they had to raise $30,000 and if they didn’t they would not have a team.
The response was overwhelming.
“Everyone kind of bonded together and said let’s do this,” Sherman explained.
“We basically weren’t promised anything,” said team treasurer Frank LaMarca.
LaMarca was faced with the daunting task of trying to balance the hockey team’s checkbook and establishing financial accountability for a team that historically didn’t pay its dues.
The bulk of the fundraising came from the team’s dues, which in the past weren’t paid. Each player was responsible for paying between $400-$1,000 a year based on if they just practiced with the team or traveled to away games.
Not knowing they would have a season the team collectively paid over $30,000 out of their own pockets to get back in the good graces of the Student Association. Hockey is the most expensive sport and if they wanted to play they needed to show the school that they were no longer taking finances lightly.
It cost roughly $45,000 a year to operate the club hockey team. The team spends over 12,000 alone on ice time. Since UAlbany doesn’t have an ice rink the team rents out the Albany County Hockey Facility. The rink charges the team $190 an hour to rent the ice, which is the cheapest price the team can find. Other expenses the team has includes refs ($3,000), league dues ($5,100) and bus travel ($22,000). With all of these expenses it’s not hard for the team to come up short.
“If they are considered a club sport then I oversee their financial side,” said Marissa Allen, Assistant Director of Intramural Club Sports at SUNY Albany. She works separate from the Student Association and her job is to make sure that the teams are able to budget their money correctly. Her title was recently created to help prevent club teams fall in the same situation as the hockey team.
“Frank and I work together a lot,” said Allen. “He says these our dues and we have to pay this by this date and then I go ahead and do it.” Allen continued, “I make sure we’re always running in the red and that we always stay in the black.”
With Allen’s newly created position combined with the accountability of LaMarca the hockey team is now in a position where they can shift their focus from finances to face-offs.