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New president and treasurer undaunted at tackling Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association’s financial issues

Outgoing Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association president Jackie Simms delivers her report at the organization’s annual general meeting last week.
Outgoing Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association president Jackie Simms delivers her report at the organization’s annual general meeting last week. - Gary Kean
Given the unenviable circumstances being inherited, it could have been quite a challenge to find people to step into important roles on the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association executive this year.
Despite the cloud of an active police investigation into possible misappropriated funds, Keith Biggin and Darren Harvieux had no qualms about taking on the respective roles of president and treasurer.
Biggin has been involved with minor hockey in Corner Brook for the past dozen or so years and served as the vice-president of the midget division on last year’s executive.
His name was put forth as the only willing candidate to serve as the new president at the association’s annual general meeting last week
Keith Biggin
Keith Biggin
“I know, last year, Corner Brook minor hockey had a rough time,” he said after being declared the new president by acclamation. “So, I was hoping to come in and put a fresh face to it with fresh ideas. Hopefully, we’ll go forward and make our program better.”
Biggin follows Jackie Simms as president. Simms was was at the end of her two-year appointment, and will stay on in the role of past-president.
In March, Simms and the previous executive announced irregularities had been noticed in the association’s financial books and that an internal audit would be conducted. The results of that audit have since been turned over to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s criminal investigation division. The police investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.
Regardless, there are obvious indications the association has money troubles. The past executive had been working with its banking institution and the City of Corner Brook to figure out a financial recovery plan that would include settling the organization’s outstanding ice time bills with the city-owned civic centre.
When asked during the AGM about whether or not the association had any money left at all, Simms would not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.
“We can rise above this,” she said at the AGM. “We can become vibrant again. It is definitely a possibility.”
Biggin said he did not know any details of the magnitude of the problem at the time of his election, though he’s bound to be brought up to speed now as new president.
“I’m sure once it all gets finalized and everything is taken care of, that Corner Brook minor hockey will bounce back pretty good,” he said.
Harvieux, a Nova Scotia native who is now branch manager at TD Bank in Corner Brook, said he is looking forward to dealing with the challenges facing the association and hopes his career skills will come in handy.
Darren Harvieux
Darren Harvieux
“This is sort of a clean start for everyone on the committee,” he said. “That’s why I was excited for the opportunity.”
He believes there is still public confidence the association will right its financial ship and not have a repeat of the current financial crisis. He vowed to keep the minor hockey community more in the loop once the current financial issues are figured out.
“It goes back to transparency,” said Harvieux. “I’m sure as a new executive, we will be open and transparent, especially now after everything that has happened.”
One of the suggestions made at the AGM was the formation of a financial committee to assist the treasurer. In fact, it was suggested each executive position should have its own committee to help lessen the burden on the elected executive member.
Biggin said he liked that idea and said it will likely be pursued during his term.
“We heard an awful lot of good suggestions tonight,” said Biggin. “I, myself, think that a lot of them will come into effect.”
At the meeting, Simms was asked whether or not the unresolved money problems will lead to a hike in minor hockey player registration and if there will be an expectation of parents to do even more fundraising than they currently do to offset any potential losses. She said it will be up to the new executive to ultimately decide those issues, but it was her opinion that this should not directly lead to increased registration fees.
Harvieux said it is his hope parents won’t bear the brunt of paying for whatever mistakes have been made in the past.
“I’m a minor hockey parent too and I’m in the same boat as everyone else,” he said.
The 2019-20 Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association executive:
- President: Keith Biggin
- Vice-president: Matt Rogers
- Treasurer: Darren Harvieux
- Secretary: Jamie Park
- Registrar: Sheri George
- Public relations: Catherine Moores
- Risk manager: to be appointed
- TimBit VP: Kristen Bromley
- Novice VP: Chris Grant
- Atom VP: Dawn Richards
- Peewee VP: vacant
- Bantam VP: Steve Cave
- Midget VP: vacant
- Female VP: Della Biggin
Source: Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association
 

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