Why Volunteering in Girls Hockey Matters, News (Grand River Mustangs)

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Aug 08, 2023 | Jenn Cowie | 268 views
Why Volunteering in Girls Hockey Matters
Over the course of the 2022/23 season, you will have noticed that the Mustangs put the ask out for volunteers to support Association initiatives much more than before. Volunteers were needed for hockey ice development sessions and goalie training, and this offered older girls a chance to help. The Mustangs also needed volunteers for community events, the Banquet, the Tournament, and fundraising activities. To improve the overall experience in the 2023/24 season the Mustangs have adopted a volunteer requirement for all teams, implemented an online scheduling system for volunteers and added a Director of Volunteers to improve the support for Association initiatives.  

As the season gets under way you can expect more information about those requirements and what activities qualifies from your team manager. What’s important to know is that great full-service Associations that operate in smaller communities like the Mustangs or the Orangeville Tigers are the exception and not the rule. In many similar size communities Local League or Rep hockey is not offered at an every age group. The strength of strong Associations is rooted in volunteerism and commitment to the community. So why does volunteering matter?

Volunteering keeps hockey affordable and builds the character of our young women.
Whether you’re a Local League family, Rep family or belong to both streams you want your daughter to get the best possible experience. The Mustangs do that by offering additional instruction camps and sessions. The instructors at those camps come with a cost but it is reduced when we provide the on-ice assistance in the form of assistance for younger skaters or shooters from goalie development. The added benefit is that our older Mustang girls build their confidence and improve their own hockey IQ when they volunteer. When we have strong skaters and goalies the game becomes more enjoyable for all.

Fundraising, while often seen as a chore, can be instrumental to on ice success. While not every player is a goalie every player needs the goalie. In short if you don’t have a goalie, you don’t have a team. In a time where goalies are in short supply fundraising helps train new goalies and provide them with the equipment, they need to be successful.

Fundraising also offsets the financial burden to play for all families. In some cases, it helps cover a portion of the registration fees for some families, but it can also lower everyone’s fees. For example, every $5000 raised can lower registration fees by as much as $20. So, when asked to help sell 50/50 tickets or work during the Tournament please consider lending a hand as these are our two main sources of non-registration revenue.

Volunteering grows awareness of the game in our community.
While playing hockey seems natural for our families that’s not the case for many others. In growing community like ours the Mustang name is often best represented at community events like the Santa Claus Parade, Canada Day Celebrations and Highland Games. Our analytics tell us that there’s a direct correlation between registrations and those events. Exposure to new families is key to reaching a critical mass of players that lets us offer every stream and age level of hockey.

Volunteering demonstrates our value to the community.
While hockey for most Mustangs ends in the Spring and resumes in September there’s critical conversations that happen in the offseason with business and municipal leaders. The conversations are more than securing enough ice. They’re about securing the right ice, at the right time, on the right pad to support everyone from U7 to U18. We can never assume that we’ll get what we need, but when we can demonstrate our presence in the community it means we have stronger conversations about what we need to be successful. It means local businesses are more inclined to support us with sponsorships. The Mustangs Family in 2023/24 will have over 300 players and 110 volunteers. That’s a huge presence in the community and when we show our appreciation to the community for their support, they’re more inclined to offer continued support.

Throughout the course of the summer the Mustangs have had over 10 meetings with town councilors, municipal staff, the Chamber of Commerce and BIAs. While some other Associations have met the challenges of 2023/24 by reducing programming the Mustangs are pushing ahead with improved programming so, please take a minute to thank everyone who participated in a parade or worked a booth for another community group because that’s one of biggest reasons we can look forward to an exciting season. Those discussions never end so when asked please consider giving a little bit of your time.

Volunteerism matters as we give the girls of the Mustangs the experience they desire. When they skate off the ice for the last time, they will take the lessons of sportsmanship, confidence, and strong friendships forward through the rest of their lives. We all want our daughters to be the best they can be, and we all play a role in that journey so consider helping the Association out by encouraging your daughter to be an on-ice volunteer, join a parade and embrace that extra car ride where you get to spend time with them. Go Purple!
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