The Merritt Centennials hockey club received a resounding vote of confidence from its volunteer leadership group at the organization’s annual general meeting on Tuesday night of this week as all twelve members of its executive and board of directors allowed their names to stand for re-election, and were voted in unanimously.

At the AGM, which was held in the mezzanine of the Nicola Valley memorial Arena, returning Cents’ president Jerry Canuel took the opportunity to thank the multitude of volunteers and businesses in the community for their tireless work, and continuous support of the local Jr. A hockey team.

“It’s unbelievable what people do for this club,” he stated, “the longest continuously-run franchise in the British Columbia Hockey League! That said, we have to encourage more people – younger people – to get involved. This club is a tremendous asset, and we wouldn’t ever want to lose it.”

Numerous reports were submitted at the annual general meeting from various executive members and committee heads.

Notable was treasurer Beth Nadeau’s financial statement for the fiscal year ending May 31 which showed a $3,150 net income for the hockey club on a budget of over $425,000.

Cents’ vice-president Tom Reynolds cautioned those in attendance not to get too excited about a positive balance sheet.

“Presently, we have in place a non-hockey fundraising activity that this year alone contributed $121,650 to the Centennials’ organization. This is a number that we have to work to bring down to zero. It’s a subsidy that we just don’t know how long is going to last. We have to prepare the team to operate without that money.”

As an addendum to the financial report, Reynolds ventured an estimate of the value of the Merritt Jr. A hockey club.

“What the team is actually worth we don’t know, but the Quesnel Millionaires just sold for $600,000, plus $250,000 to move [to Chilliwack]. Quesnel’s a similar market to us, so it’s conceivable that our team is worth somewhere between $600,000 – $850,000,” said Reynolds.

Canuel brought the AGM to a close by stating, “What we’ve got is stability, both from a management and coaching perspective. The bottom line, however, is that we need more seats filled. We need more people to attend games, not just to support our team on the ice, but to help make us more financially viable as a small-market BCHL franchise.”