MELFORT — Despite ending the season in the red, the Melfort Mustangs are upbeat going into their 30th year on the ice.
“Last season was a challenging one,” said Jaret Schneider, the team’s marketing manager. “There was a lot of ups and downs with the way the season went both on and off the ice.”
The team lost $53,000 in 2017-18, compared to $61,500 the season before, stated reports given at the team’s annual general meeting Aug. 22. There is optimism next season will be better, as the team is planning a series of fundraisers both old and new, including a fall supper, coupon book, online auction, pick your trip lottery and a replacement for the ladies’ night the team used to hold a few years back.
Schneider added the team is also on track to produce record revenues from corporate sponsorships. Usually they make around $180,000 and $190,000 but Schneider believes he’ll surpass the $200,000 mark before the season begins.
“What’s new this year is first and foremost, it’s our 30th anniversary,” Schneider said.
The season will begin Sept. 15, where they’ll retire Jaxon Joseph’s #11 jersey to the rafters. Joseph, a former Mustang, was one of the Humboldt Broncos players that died in the bus crash at the Armley corner.
“Jaxon was an amazing person, a great hockey player, but even more so, just a great pillar in the community here for the year and a half he was in Melfort,” Schneider said.
The team is also hosting a jersey design contest for breast cancer awareness month in October. People can pick up sheets at TJ’s Pizza where they can draw their designs and submit it to the Mustangs for a small registration fee.
“The winning jersey we’re going to get made as a Melfort Mustangs warm-up jersey,” Schneider said. “Everybody that enters will get a free child ticket to that game and the winning jersey will be revealed when the boys come out on the ice for warm-up.”
At the end of October, the jerseys will be sold in a silent auction, with the proceeds donated to the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.
The team will play in a slightly renovated arena, where new LED lights will make it easier to see the action, and new paint has been applied to three of the four corners of the arena, as well as some of the dressing rooms.
Jamie Placsko remains president of the team and 11 out of 13 board members are returning. Jordan Evenson joins the board, while Randy Martin and John Tylor are moving on.