John has his jacket, league has cash and coaches ready to hold early meetings: BLOMHA ready for another hockey season.

August 30, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  When the cooler weather sets in you will see Jim McNeil wearing his The Game Goes On jacket, the personal reward he got for heading up the drive to get Burlington Lions Optimists Minor Hockey Association – BLOMHA to vote for their team during the Kraft Foods contest that had $100,000 up for grabs.  Burlington was amongst the finishers and saw a cheque for $20,000 come their way.

The mention of the corporate sponsor doesn’t dominate the banner – why would city hall want to get a fee for letting it hang from the rafters at the Appleby Arena.

There is a banner BLOMHA was given as well, which they hoped to see hanging from the rafter at the Appleby Arena but the sharper pencils at city hall want to know if hanging the banner was part of the deal with Kraft – and if it was then the city would like some coin for promoting a product.  Who cares – if a local group was able to work their buns off over a weekend and get everyone they knew to click on that vote button – why should city hall care if the banner they were given has the name of a corporate sponsor on it?

City hall did the same thing to the Arts in Action people who hold an annual studio tour; the city wanted each location to take out a permit.  The artists managed to talk some sense into the people at the permit counter.

Kirsten Priestner, the woman who nominated John McNeil as a participant in the Kraft Game Goes On contest makes sure the jack he was given fits properly.

The funds BLOMHA earned, and they certainly earned those dollars, will be spent over two seasons to pay for upgraded goalie equipment and to cover some of the costs for families that can’t handle the full BLOMHA fee which range between $375.00 to $575.00 depending on age.  The fee for 4 and 5 year olds remains at $375.00 and never increases.

The coaches will begin gathering on the 14th and meet in groups to get the year started.  There are 100 different teams broken into 12 divisions with anywhere from 4 to 12 teams in a division.

BLOMHA focuses on sport as a way to build character and values.  If a player happens to make it to the NHL – that’s nice but BLOMHA isn’t there to develop talent for big time hockey teams.  There are other commercially oriented organizations that do that – BLOMHA uses hockey to develop the men that will lead when they grow up.  There are a few girls who play in the league.

Rick Dawson, a former police officer and current Executive Director of the league explains that they are there to “develop life skills and teach kids to become accountable for their behaviour”.

This is how you put your volunteers to work. There may have been some pizza slices somewhere in the room as well.

Getting the volunteer help that s needed is always a struggle. “We think we can attract some high school students who are looking for a place to do their 40 hours of community service” adds Dawson.  Give BLOMHA a call if this is a place you think you can serve at

The teams take to the ice September 28th, 29th to start their season.

BLOMHA go all kinds of coverage last year, first because it is a good league and also because of the way they organized to earn that $20,000The 2013-14 season might see some wins over those London rivals.

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