Mike Kelly (AAA President) far left, John Neely (Sting Booster Club), Lambton AAA players and
Bill Abercrombie (Sarnia Sting Hockey Operations)
At Friday night's Sarnia Sting game members of the Lambton AAA Hockey Association were on hand for a cheque presentation, presented by Sarnia Sting Executive Bill Abercrombie and Booster Club President John Neely.
What many people don't know is that the Sarnia Sting organization donates to several hockey associations each year.
"Most of it comes on the backs of the booster club." Abercrombie said. We hold raffles, 50/50, sweater draws, then they keep track of that money all year and at the end of the year it is divided up and given to the associations. And lots of time if there is not enough the Ciccarelli family put the rest of the money in."
Local hockey associations that receive funding from the Sarnia Sting organization include Lambton AAA, Sarnia Boys Hockey Association, Sarnia Girls Lady Sting and Sledge hockey.
"It's important for us (Sarnia Sting) to give back. We need to have minor hockey vibrant because that's where our players come from so it's a win win situation." Abercrombie added.
Lambton AAA supports eight teams, Minor/Major Atom, Minor/Major Peewee, Minor/Major Bantam and Minor/Major Midget. This includes 148 players, team coaches, trainers and managers.
The Association uses the funds for various programs such as Player development, Coach development, video auditing equipment, jerseys, supplies and other that helps improve the organization.
"Donations like this is important to the Lambton organization." Lambton AAA President Mike Kelly said "We would have to fund raise more and most likely we would have to raise registration approximately $200.00 per player each year."
For the 2013-14 season Lambton AAA registration fee totalled $1,800.00 plus an additional cost of $450.00 that is raised by parents through fundraising efforts through sweater sponsors and annual elimination draw or if they choose they can pay the additional out of pocket bringing the total Association fee per player to $2250.00. This does not include team fees, travel costs, player equipment etc. Some of these additional costs are raised by the teams in separate fund raising events.
"We are very fortunate to have such a solid sponsor because I know other OHL Centres do not donate near this amount and I know other AAA organizations don't have this luxury." Kelly said
"For a smaller AAA centre if we didn't have this I don't know whether we would have AAA hockey. Kelly added "Certainly it would be a lot more challenging for us, we are so very grateful for the Sting organization for doing this."