BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Atom-aged players with Hockey Brandon show off their new atoMc jerseys at Wednesday’s press conference announcing a partnership with McDonald’s Restaurants.
Hockey Brandon hopes its new partnership McDonald’s will bring down registration fees in the future.
Hockey Brandon president Glen Parker announces the new jersey deal. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The two teamed up this year to bring the atoMc hockey program to the Wheat City. As part of the agreement, which was announced at the Hockey Brandon office on Wednesday, each atom team will receive new pro-style hockey jerseys and official Hockey Canada atom coaching material courtesy of the fast-food chain.
According to Hockey Brandon president Glen Parker, it costs the organization about $3,000 to replace jerseys in a specific age group, so if Hockey Brandon can extend its relationship with atoMc beyond this year, registration costs in the future may decrease.
"We’re trying to save as many people as we can, dollars on registration in any way we can," said Parker, who likes the way the new program complements the Timbits jersey program for four- to six-year-old kids. "That enables so many more people to play hockey if it’s that much more affordable for folks."
"It’s hard to put an actual dollar figure on what it will exactly save us this year," he said. "When we budget for next year, we should see closer to what we’ll actually save."
The atoMc program is only a one-year commitment and Hockey Brandon will have to apply again next year for it to be extended.
This is the second year the atoMc program has been around, and Matt DeVliegere, operations consultant for McDonald’s, is glad he could bring it to Brandon.
"McDonald’s is very good at giving back to the community and we’re trying to be more community-involved," he said. "We’re always willing to help out when asked."
The new jerseys, which the players will get to keep at the end of the season, are coming just in time as registration numbers are on the rise again. Hockey Brandon is up 21 players to 672 this season. It is projecting over 700 players for the season, as the final registration deadline is Nov. 5.
Girls hockey also continues to have strong numbers at the younger age groups, although the board had a tough decision on what to do with its older age groups for house league play, which start on Saturday. Registration numbers for the peewee and bantam levels were on the cusp of where they could have one or two teams, but the board decided to have two peewee and one bantam squad.
The local hockey organization did not discuss bringing checking in at the boys peewee level, instead waiting for Hockey Canada and Hockey Manitoba to settle the issue first.
Hockey Brandon is also well equipped to deal with concussions this season. The organization has set up a protocol where all concussions must be recorded and players must pass tests performed by properly qualified individuals before they’re allowed back on the ice. All coaches went through a concussion seminar last night and Parker hopes the messages will be passed down to the players.
"Primarily, it’s coaches (we’re educating) right now," Parker said. "We need them to pass it down. I think it’s front and centre, it’s not like they don’t understand it. When teammates go down with it, I think they start to realize the seriousness of it. … We’d sure like to see it completely eradicated from the game."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 27, 2012