Published July 20, 2016
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
The English River Miners broke their silence last week, having their first public meeting since the Municipality of Red Lake approved the team’s move in June.
Addressing the questions and concerns of the more than 30 area residents that were in attendance, the board confirmed the team’s financial situation was the reason for the move from the Ear Falls Arena to the Cochenour Arena for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
Making a statement to the crowd Director Warren Badiuk noted the group reviewed finances earlier this year and found two revenue sources lacking.
“Declining season ticket sales and attendance were two areas that were identified,” reported Badiuk. “Based on this information the decision was made to make the English River Miners home base the Cochenour arena. [This season] the ERM will be practicing and playing the majority of their home games in Cochenour.”
Badiuk confirmed the goal of the meeting was to give community members in both towns an opportunity to ask questions and receive insight into the direction of the organization.
The crowd, made up of Ear Falls and Red Lake residents, expressed their displeasure with how the announcement of the team’s move was handled and called for the board to engage in efforts to mend fences with both communities.
Badiuk noted the team did not want to discuss the issue in a public forum until the “blessing” was given by the Municipality of Red Lake to use the Cochenour Hall for the team’s new dressing room, which was received after its Regular Council meeting in June.
The organization did not discuss its financial situation specifically, stating an Annual General Meeting would be held sometime in August, however Team President Jason Vinet did note that the team spends $22,000 annually in fees to the SIJHL to have the team in the district and that fees collected from players to play on the team were used to fund this and other expenses like billet fees and insurance.
Members of the team’s board also confirmed there are two vacant spots and a vote would be held at the AGM for those interested in joining the organization.
New recruits will start training camp September 2-4 in Vermillion Bay and Vinet says there are two pre-season games on the books in Dryden. The season is expected to start on Sept. 23, however, the team will be travelling until its first home game expected to be Oct. 8. The full SIJHL schedule is due out sometime this week, he added.
Editors Note: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of positions available on the ERM board.