Cancelled minor hockey season leaves Winnipeg parents still paying out of pocket

With the 2020-2021 minor hockey season now cancelled, parents are waiting to see if they will get their registration fees and other costs refunded.

Hockey Winnipeg includes 600 teams that represent around 9,000 players throughout the city, including Shawna Crane’s young boys.

“We knew it was coming, but I think the official word hit us harder,” she said.

Now, the Cranes, like many parents, are waiting to see if they will get refunds.

Between registration fees, club fees, ice time and tryouts, some families have already invested thousands of dollars into the cancelled season.

“I’ve got three boys, 13, 10 and six, and we paid — just for registration fees — we paid about $2,000,” Crane said.

“I just feel like a lot of that money would be beneficial back to us now.”

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Read more: Hockey Winnipeg cancels remainder of minor hockey season

Hockey Winnipeg said it is working on figuring out how much can be returned to families and is even tapping into its reserve funds typically used for development programs.

However, executive director Ian McArton said parents should not expect a full refund as some fees are not recoverable. He said insurance is enacted the moment players first stepped on the ice.

McArton said the organization also paid membership fees to Hockey Manitoba, which it’s not sure if it can get back.

“We are hoping to provide a large portion of those fees back to families,” he said. “I’m hoping 75 per cent or more if we can.”

However, how much each parent ends up getting refunded will also have a lot to do with which association the player is with. Hockey Winnipeg refunds what they can to the associations, but then there are additional costs paid at that level.

“They need to look at some costs that they incurred… so tryouts and team formation would be the main ones,” McArton said.

Read more: Western Hockey League delays 2021 draft

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It means that some parents are out significantly more money just because of the association their child plays for.

“With the associations not being the same playing field financially, each has their own fees. so that does affect how much people get back,” Bobby Launderville said.

Launderville is a coach and a referee and also has a son who plays the sport.

He said he already paid hundreds of dollars in tryout fees for his 13-year-old son at the start of the season.

“We have tryout fees for AAA which was I believe around $200 plus AA tryout fees when he was released, so that’s another $175 and the registration fee for the association which was $550,” Launderville said.

As of right now, he’s not sure how much he’ll get back.

Lee-Ann Kluzinski’s son, Jacob, plays for the River East Royals and was told to not expect a large refund.

“They’re telling us we are only going to get 25 per cent back,” she said. “For only having five sessions … that’s a lot of money that is not coming back right away.”

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Hockey Manitoba return to play – Sep 29, 2020

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