Promoting youth hockey in New Brighton, Mounds View, St. Anthony and Shoreview, MN

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Irondale Youth Hockey Association Election Meeting Minutes
IYHA Election Meeting:  April 18, 2013        
Election Meeting called to order at 7:03 pm by Vice President John Niedfeldt-Thomas.
Board Members Present:  Brent Eilefson, Rick Laporte, Rob Hanson, Shari Kunza, Steve Krahn, Kara Chamberlain, Nicki Oswald, Adam Schmidt, Bill Jacob, John Niedfeldt-Thomas
Board Members Absent:  Chris Drews, Mark Klein, Tom Rodefeld
Guests:  Steve Clark, James Sigmundik, Tim Manson, Tom Gombold, Brigid Gombold
Shari Kunza moved to accept the white ballot nomination and approval of Tom Gombold as president of IYHA.  Rick Laporte second.  Motion passed.  See statement of President Tom Gombold set forth as Attachment A below.
Rick Laporte moved to accept the white ballot nomination and approval of Brent Eilefson as Secretary of IYHA.  Steve Krahn second.  Motion passed.
                Shari Kunza moved to accept the white ballot nomination and approval of James Sigmundik as Equipment Manager of IYHA.  Kara Chamberlain second.  Motion passed.
The executive committee counted the ballots cast during the election for the position of District Representative.  Votes were 17-14 in favor of Tim Manson.
Rob Hanson moved to approve the appointment of Tim Manson as District Representative of IYHA  Kara Chamberlain second.  Motion passed.
Brent Eilefson moved to adjourn the election meeting.  Motion passed.  Adjourned at 7:14.
Attachment A
Statement of Tom Gombold
Statement of new president Tom Gombold:
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and describe my interest and motivation in pursuing the role of President for Irondale Youth Hockey Association.
My name is Tom Gombold. I have been a resident of New Brighton since 1998 and a member of IYHA since 2004. My wife Brigid and I have three children, ages 16, 13 and 8. My 13 year old son will be a 1st  year Bantam next year and my youngest Daughter will be playing for the U8 team. I am registered as a coach with USA Hockey to work with kids up to the PeeWee level and I’ve supported the Association as an assistant coach or team manager every year since we became members and I plan to continue helping out any way I can. 
                My interest in taking on this position is to make sure the best interests of all players and families are represented in the decisions and initiatives taken by the Association.  I have children playing boys and girls hockey and my son has played at the A, B and C level so I think I have a unique perspective on the expectations families have when they choose to enroll their children in Hockey. The time and financial sacrifice made by each member family is significant and the wise use of financial and volunteer resources will be carefully considered as part of any efforts I support. Irondale is a great Association serving many  families. I intend to do my best to insure that all families receive outstanding value when they invest time and finances to participate and support IYHA. 
                I like the opportunities that co-op offers in the short run, but we can’t ignore the fact we need to co-op now because we don’t have the numbers on our own to place kids of all levels on appropriate teams.  Fortunately, we still have a lot of potential opportunity for attracting younger players to the sport. I did a participation study last year of the schools feeding our program and found less than 4% of eligible boys and less than 2% of eligible girls are participating. It’s hard to say exactly what the real potential is, but I know those numbers are low. Low enough that I don’t think a 5 year plan to double our participation is unrealistic. I know we’ll need to do a few things differently to get there. Fortunately we have a number of very successful associations nearby we can learn from. By emulating their best ideas and incorporating some of our own, I know we can offer members an outstanding value, give players more opportunities and generate a lot more interest in Irondale Hockey.
           I am excited about the potential for Irondale because we have a lot of good things in place. Adam Schmidt, the Boys HS Coach’s interest at the youth level is a huge plus, success of the girls HS program generates a ton of welcome visibility for our program, and we have some outstanding talent in all sorts of areas of membership. With some strategic planning and emphasis on communicating where we want to take the association in the next five years I think we can get more folks excited to apply their specific talents in areas that will have some positive impact.
Here are just a few of the “Ideas” that will help get us where we need to be:
1) Better recognition of players and teams. We need as much outward display of pride for our teams as possible. Simple things like: A trophy case that is up to date so players have a standing reminder their accomplishments they've work so hard to earn and the opportunity to show their friends and family the hardware they've won; current team photos displayed in our arena for all to see; submitting photos of every trophy victory to “Lets Play Hockey” so kids can bring a copy to school and show their friends; etc.. Recognition does not have to be expensive, but it is essential to a good hockey culture and building excitement around the sport.
2) Visibility in the community to generate interest. We have over 150 walking billboards (otherwise known as players) that ought to be issued a t-shirts promoting Irondale hockey. T-Shirts are not expensive at all and could also be an opportunity to generate sponsorship for teams by incorporating local business advertising. Anytime we can generate more visibility in Irondale youth hockey we increase youth interest and the potential for community support. Both good things.
3) A new approach to fundraising. I think it is time to exploit our non-profit status and get very aggressive in how we approach fundraising. Door to door sales are fine, but I think we can do much better partnering up with some of the local businesses and do things  like bingo nights and raffles at local bars. Those types of things could also be done year round and are major fundraising tools for other associations. They also help draw in revenue from folks that we would typically not reach through our traditional fundraising efforts. .
4) Special interest should be made to any first time skating family at the being and end of each season to learn what brought them to the association and how they felt about the experience when the season is over. There is a lot we can learn from listening to these folks. 
5) Stepping stones for families that aren’t quite prepared to commit a whole winter to hockey. For instance, a series of initiation  level sessions during the regular season– maybe 6 to 8 weeks long for families that aren’t sure about hockey yet and don’t want to spend $200-$300 to “try” hockey.  I believe that by getting more kids just a little success on their skates we’ll end up with a lot more players in the long run.
There is a lot we can do, resources will be essential. But I think if we can get people excited about action being taken to grow Irondale we’ll  see membership want  to be involved as opposed to feeling obligated to work off their volunteer requirements.  
I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve this Association over the next two years.
Feel free to call me anytime if you have questions. 612-963-6435
Thank You
Tom Gombold