GLACE BAY, N.S. — The Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament has received $150,000 in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to be used over three years.
Richie Warren, tournament founder, said this money will pay for most of the ice time.
Each year, ice time costs about $52,000, and Warren said people often assume it is donated.
“It’s amazing people think we get that for free,” Warren told the Post during a phone interview on Tuesday.
“I meet people on the street and they say, ‘Oh you guys are making a killing,’ and I say, ‘Why is that, sir?’ And they say, ‘Ice time is donated. Refs are donated. Everything is donated.’ That’s just not true.”
Warren said on average it costs about $200,000 to pull off the tournament, which raises money for high school scholarships. Costs include ice time, game staff (referees, time keepers) and insurance. Other operational costs include renting office space and paying two staff.
The tournament used to attract an average of 130 teams but took a dip to 110 teams last year because the New Waterford rink and the Bayplex weren’t available. With the Bayplex still closed, Warren hopes they’ll be able to accommodate 115 teams for the tournament this March.
Team registration is $870 and with 110 teams registered in 2018, revenue from this was about $95,700. This is less than half of the total overhead for the four-day tournament, which Wadden said has huge economic spin-off for the community, estimated to be in the millions.
Through government funding and corporate sponsorships, the Vince Ryan Memorial Tournament is able to cover the remaining operational costs and raise $15,000-$20,000 each year for their high school scholarships. These are given in $1,000 increments and all high schools in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality benefit. One year, Warren said they were able to donate $36,000 to the scholarship fund.
Warren said the organization is grateful for the continued support from the federal government, which has been giving the tournament funding for about 12 years.
The recent ACOA funding came with new requirement that the tournament attract at least eight teams each year from outside Atlantic Canada or Canada.
“Events submitted to ACOA are assessed on their own merits with a view to sustainability and potential growth,” Alex Smith, spokesman for ACOA, told the Post via email.
“When assessing major events, ACOA is interested in seeing that a strong foundation is in place and determining how the event could grow and increase its economic and community impact.
In the case of the Vince Ryan hockey tournament, international teams help to increase the event’s profile and familiarizes players from other countries with Cape Breton.”
This year’s tournament is already off to a good start for reaching that goal for the March 21-24 event, even though registration only started on Monday. One of the two teams that has already registered and paid is from New York.
“(The tournament) will be here and gone before you know it, like our summers,” Warren said with a laugh.
“The main thing is at the end of the tournament we give scholarships to the high schools.”
The Vincie annual expenses
- Ice time: $51,000-$52,000
- Referees: $11,000
- Time keepers: $3,000
- Office rental: $7,300
- Phone: $3,000
- Two staff: $70,000