Brandon Hockey Parents Outraged By Refund Rates

With the COVID regulations posing as a major hurdle for the remainder of the 2020-21 Hockey season, Hockey Brandon decided to send out a survey to hockey parents to inform them of refund rates that would be offered should this season be scrapped. On Friday, January 22, 2021, the email was sent out to parents of kids registered in hockey for age groups ranging from 7 – 17-years-old. In that email Hockey Brandon included a survey that asked questions referring to refunds should the season be canceled due to health regulations relating to the COVID pandemic. Part of the survey was a rate sheet illustrating how much refunds would be. The amounts ranged from 40% (For 7 year-olds) to 72% (for the U17 Triple-A team). Hundreds of Brandon hockey parents took to social media to express their disdain over the weekend in response to that email.


Hockey Brandon has a total of 722 players registered in six age groups. Each age group and or skill level has varying registration fees per player ranging from $715.00 for the U7 division up to to $2070.00 for the U17 AAA. The average refunds offered are between 50 – 60%. In some cases, this would work out to some parents paying as much as $100.00 per ice time for the rep teams. For house league teams the going rate is in the range of $20.00 – $30.00 per ice time per child. Many Hockey parents deduced their fees by simply dividing the number of ice times their child had divided by their overall fees paid. Most kids were on the ice for just a handful of occasions before the COVID lockdowns and the math didn’t justify the refunds offered.


A breakdown of the expenses incurred by Hockey Brandon was not disclosed with the survey. The sharing of such cut and dry info didn’t sit well for many hockey parents and made for a sensitive topic of discussion on social media platforms throughout the weekend. According to Hockey Brandon president Curtis Storey, some people called the Hockey Brandon offices looking for clarification, “We had a few calls to the general office as well as the divisions’ respective directors. However once we spoke to each individual and explained the situation of what we were doing, the people were quite understanding and in approval.”


One day after sending out the emails to parents regarding refund rates, Hockey Brandon posted an FAQ on its website regarding the survey which included the rates of refunds. The FAQ post answered many pressing questions the most popular of which, is how the hockey registration funds are used. Many hockey parents thought since COVID closed down the rinks, expenses would be minimal because Hockey Brandon is only charged for ice times that are actually used.


The clarification posted on the Hockey Brandon website was welcomed news to many hockey parents, it explained other operational costs incurred by Hockey Brandon. According to HB Pres. Curtis Storey, the main operational costs include office space rent, misc. office expenses, players’ insurance, utilities, and salaries.


Can The Season Be Saved?

As the season remains in limbo, Hockey Brandon is looking into the possibility of salvaging the season. However, Storey says, ‘This decision is to be determined by the Board. It will depend on outside factors such as facility availability, provincial health orders, and Hockey Manitoba’s direction. There is still hope that this season can be continued according to Storey, “We are hopeful restrictions will lift for minor sports February 13 and we will get started then. We also plan to extend our season to the end of April this year.” Hockey Brandon is still hopeful to salvage this season according to Storey “HB is committed to having kids on the ice as soon as we can for as long as we can while following all of the health regulations.”

While the 2020-21 season isn’t officially done as of yet, plans remain in place for next season which Storey says will start with a clean slate, “Again, the start date will depend on Provincial Health orders but our normal approximate start period is the week after the September long weekend. If we have the Provincial Health approval then that is when we will be starting up the next season. Once we enter this fall it will be a new season.”

In the meantime, parents with kids clamoring for ice time will be happy to know the city’s community center ice rinks were open to the public with lenient regulations in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of those facilities were packed on Saturday when the conditions were sunny and -4, things took a drastic change when the polar vortex plummeted temperatures to -41 with windchill as of Sunday morning and -36 Monday. The current cold snap is expected to last until this Thursday when temps will get back up to slightly above normal average daytime highs.