NIU hockey opens with less funding

By Korey Peterson

Usually, if a business loses more than half of its operating budget, that organization will have to fold.

This is not the case, however, with the NIU ice hockey team. After losing more than half of its annual funding, the team will take to the ice this year with a few revisions.

Last spring, the Student Association Finance Committee decided to take away some of the club’s funding because of, among other things, a conference rule that placed a limit on the number of players allowed on each team.

According to the Student Association Finance Policy, “student organizations may have a travel or competition team with limited or competitive membership and still receive funding, if the organization’s regular membership is open to all students.”

While clubs are not allowed to cap their enrollment, the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), the Division II conference that NIU competes in, only allows each team to carry a maximum of 30 players.

The word “tryout” also caused the team some grief. The club is now open to all students who have an interest in hockey and evaluations for the team were held at the end of August.

The competitive team is now within the hockey club, rather than the team consisting of the entire club.

The club was receiving around $21,500 last season, according to senior winger and former president of the team, Peter Alfano. This season, its funding from the SA will be closer to $10,000. The club could have been eradicated, according to SA bylaws.

Instead, the team is now on probation and will apply for supplemental funding from the SA. The SA Funding Policy states that supplemental funding is available “to SA funded organizations when the amount budgeted for a unique or unexpected expense is not sufficient or an emergency arises.”

The team’s expenses include coaching, travel and arena fees.

“The majority of our costs are for the ice [leasing],” Alfano said. “For right now, we are budgeting ourselves as if we wouldn’t have the extra money.”

Both Alfano and junior president Mike Sible noted that even with the supplemental funding, individual members of the team will still have to spend money out of their own pockets.

“We hope that it doesn’t get to a point where we have to say ‘if you want to play, you‘ve got to pay,'” Sible said.

The club has increased fundraising efforts this summer. It still is actively looking for sponsorships and will increase merchandising this season as well to try and account for the losses.