The junior “A” bid has officially been approved; after a vote today by the Collingwood council members junior “A” hockey is back in Collingwood. The town council members deliberated on the two proposed bids, evidently they ultimately decided to approve the Ontario Junior Hockey League bid. This grant of approval allows the now Collingwood Colts to begin play at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena to begin the 2019-2020 season.
The ownership group is spearheaded by Howie Campbell and Dave Steele, Dave Steele will be the junior “A” squad’s president.
I courtesy of the ownership group have obtained the speeches that were given before the Collingwood council members rendered their vote.
The first speech came from the Collingwood Colts President Dave Steele:
Hi my name is Dave Steele, and I will be the President of the Collingwood Colts Junior A team, I am honored to meet with you and happy to see so many familiar faces here in the room supporting us today.
I would like to talk about who I am and my passion for developing hockey players through the eyes as a player, junior coach, General Manager and hopefully an owner of a team right here in this beautiful town of Collingwood.
I can talk about the accomplishments and trophies and setting records included on my resume, but those are just byproducts of why I have Volunteered now 10 years in Minor Hockey and Junior Development Teams.
My real reason for standing before you all today is to explain the passion I have for developing young men into successful members of the community. I was once a 14-year-old boy living in Brockville and I needed to leave my town, family and friends to move off to Kingston to pursue my dream of playing Junior A hockey. After the season was done I was left to pay for my education and pursue a career without help from any of the teams I worked so hard to support.
We have been very diligent in the past two months recruiting players to be competitive in our first junior A season here in Collingwood. I have 12 players already committed. We also have Jack DuPont behind us here tonight. Jack is a born and raised in Collingwood playing his minor hockey here and has ambition to play Junior A Hockey. When jack was 14 years old much like myself, he had to leave Collingwood and move to Kitchener to play hockey and develop the skills necessary to achieve his dream of playing Junior A hockey. Jack is the inspiration to why I know Junior A is best suited for the town of Collingwood. By bringing Junior A to Collingwood we can offer you a proven development program that has provided 17 educational scholarships, 8 union trade apprenticeships, 6 business internships and 10 “first” jobs for young hockey player in our community in the past 3 years alone.
Development of minor athletic programs in Collingwood and the mutual success of the local business partnerships is our priority in coming to you with this team. However, one of the concerns you all must have is the financial stability required to sustain a Junior team here in Collingwood. In order to address that, when we are successful with our bid, we will provide $175,000 to be held in trust by the town for the first 5 years of our relationship. We feel strongly that our Junior A offer of Tenancy will align with the Town of Collingwood’s values of accountability, traceability and accessibility.
Thank you for your time and consideration and for allowing me the opportunity to bring my passion and love for the game of hockey here to Collingwood. It is my goal to come back before this council with an RBC National Championship bid for the Town of Collingwood and its business partnerships in the near future.
The next speech came from Barrie Colts President and majority owner and new part owner of the OJHL Collingwood Colts Howie Campbell:
Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to be here tonight to talk about bringing a junior A hockey team to Collingwood!
My name is Howie Campbell and I am the majority owner of the Barrie Colts OHL hockey club.
No matter what happens here tonight, junior hockey will be back in Collingwood for the 2019 hockey season, and that is a great thing.
But we believe that is should be a Junior A team and that we are the right group to run it. You have already read in our bid materials about the experience of our whole group in operating successful businesses and hockey businesses at various levels of the sport.
But, I want to talk about the impact our Junior A team will have in the community. About the impact it will have on the young players here, the business community, the kids in the community, the charitable groups in the community and the whole sense of community that a hockey team can affect. I’ve seen this first hand with the Barrie Colts. We are a big part of the community and we are committed to that. It did not just happen. It happened because we understand the importance of it and how to achieve it. And we will do exactly that here in Collingwood.
There are so many examples and I have little time, so I will speak to some highlights. Our players visit hospitals, seniors’ homes and over 55 schools a year. We allow schools to sell tickets to game nights and we donate $6 back to that school for each ticket they sell. In the last 6 years, we have donated over $600,000 to schools to buy such things as playground equipment, smart boards, band instruments, sports equipment and other things that schools need. Our 50/50 draws, golf tournament and jerseys auctions allow us to donate over $100,00 each year to local charitable groups. We have helped a lot of amazing people and organizations.
We work with Minor hockey and other boys and girls hockey leagues to help develop hockey at that level and to help give as many kids as possible the chance to play on a team.
And we see the business success that many of our sponsors and businesses in the community experience because of the team.
On the hockey side, this will be the 24th year in the ohl for the barrie colts. We won the league championship once, won the eastern championship 4 times, and have finished in the playoffs for 22 of the past 24 years. Our team has won more playoff rounds than every other team in the ohl other then the London nights. We have had over 100 players make it to the NHL and many more playing pro hockey in other leagues around the world. I’m telling you this to demonstrate that we know how to develop hockey players. Hall of famer Dale Hawerchuk is our head coach, hall of famer Billy Smith is our goalie coach, and we have one of the best staffs in the league. We have 8 dedicated scouts that cover the whole province and 2 scouts that cover nothing but the united states. These people are the best at what they do and we will bring that talent to our team here.
We chose Junior A because it is a national hockey league and is the number 1 development league in junior hockey. The biggest hole we have in the development of players in our region is the absence of a junior A hockey franchise! We have several junior C teams in the region, one of the most successful of which is run by David Steele and will be part of our group. That league is at a similar level to Junior B. But we have nowhere for the player who’s not quite ready for the OHL but is too good for junior C or B. He is forced to move away from home to play at a higher level. Having a junior A team in Collingwood will stop this! If you award us the team for Collingwood, this will be the only place in the province where the ownership group of an OHL team would also have control of a neighboring junior A and junior C franchise. The teams combined would be able to attract more local kids, allowing them to stay home and develop thru a complete system. That model will be envied by other centers all over the province.
I know what it’s like to welcome a 16 year old into our program and then be there to see the smiles and tears in the eyes of the moms and dads when he signs his first NHL pro contract. That’s what we can do here in Collingwood with a Junior A team. Thank you. Now, I’d like to introduce Dale Hawerchuk, who will be key to developing our players.
Dale Hawerchuk also spoke before the Collingwood council members to add the outlook of player development for the now official Collingwood Colts. Dave was unable to send us a copy but i am sure the council members were extremley impressed.
A big day for the town of Collingwood, along with the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and the new ownership group of the Collingwood Colts. The Colts will get right to evaluating their purchased roster and look to add the committed players they’ve already scouted. Junior “A” hockey is back in Collingwood.