Hope Minor Hockey (HMH) is putting out a call for help, looking to address a severe shortage of volunteers.
Lora Post, president of the Hope & District Minor Hockey Association, says a small group of dedicated volunteers are being stretched to the limit, and they desperately need reinforcements.
“Pre-COVID we used to have a full board with 14 or so positions filled,” she said. “Right now we have eight people covering our executive positions and three of them don’t even have kids in Hope Minor Hockey. So, there is a low level of committment from parents to fill position and we need to raise awareness because it takes a lot of people to run a hockey association.
“I don’t want to see it end, but if people aren’t willing to run it, it doesn’t run.”
Post doesn’t think it will get to that point, but she said the number of teams and program “is dwindling.”
HMH recently changed the registrar job to a paid position, because it’s such a big role to fill. That was a first for the association, but Post said it was necessary with Liz Soares also managing ice distribution and risk management (safety). The HMH website (hopeminorhockey.ca) lists Post as president, second vice president and tournament director. Open positions right now include logowear coordinator, referee in chief and website administrator.
Post understands the barriers to volunteering. Between jobs and home life, people are busier than ever. Hope is a volunteer-driven town and people are already helping out elsewhere.
“I hear things like, ‘I can’t volunteer in hockey because I’m volunteering in figure skating or soccer,’” Post noted. “A lot of people are volunteering in things, it’s just that there’s so many things that need volunteers.”
HMH’s main strategy is to get more players, because more kids means more parents means more potential helpers.
Post has been a volunteer with HMH for 10 years. She started as a team manager before moving onto the board, and she said she stuck with it because of the great community within HMH.
“Our kids carry through HMH a lot of times with the team and same families, where playing in a bigger association like Chilliwack the kids can get split up onto a lot of different teams,” Post explained. “One year you’re on one team and the next year you’re with a different group. In Hope, you consistently play with the same kids because we don’t have multiple teams per age group.
“You build that community in each age group and for a lot of us it’s the love of the sport and the love of the community that drives us to want to do more for it.”
Overall, the association has about 80 kids spread around five teams. Players come not just from Hope but from several surrounding areas. If Hope didn’t have an association, Post feels lots of kids wouldn’t get the opportunity to play.
“Hope Minor Hockey offers kids the chance to try hockey, which they otherwise might not get,” she said.
HMH is holding a tournament this weekend, a one-day U6 jamboree that will see five-year-old kids from Hope, Mission, Chilliwack, Semiahmoo and Richmond hitting the ice at the Hope & District Recreation Centre.
To get involved as a HMH volunteer, visit hopeminorhockey.ca/organizations/3745/contact_page