Cold Lake Aeros granted $10K from City towards officiating costs

The City of Cold Lake is granting the Cold Lake Aeros $10,000 to help pay for officials for the upcoming hockey season.

Owner Axel Axmann had presented to city council on May 23 asking for assistance, as the costs plus the nature of their league, make finding and paying for officials more difficult.

As a for-profit team, the Aeros’ submission to the city’s Community Recreation, Art, Culture and Heritage Investment Grant Program needed to come before council.

“Basically, they come to council for kind of a grant to go towards their expenses. And our council over the years have been — we’re very giving to all the different community groups, and it’s just one more group that’s coming to council,” said Mayor Craig Copeland.

“It’s a helping hand. By no means is it enough money to operate a hockey club. But we get these requests all the time. And we’re happy to support the Junior A’s as well.”  

The Aeros are part of the Canadian American Junior Hockey League, which is not a part of Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada.

Hockey Alberta limits participation of officials in leagues of this nature. If they referee a “non-sanctioned” game, they do not have access to the Hockey Canada insurance program for any injuries that may occur, are more limited on the types of Hockey Alberta/Canada tournaments they can officiate, nor participate in Hockey Alberta’s Officiating Development Programs.

CAO Kevin Nagoya went so far during last Tuesday’s council meeting to describe this as “discriminatory.”

There are a couple of local officials who do officiate these games, it was mentioned during the June 27th meeting, but it isn’t possible for them to do all the games because of schedule.

Axmann referenced paying $800 for one official to come referee a game from Edmonton.

While not unanimous, city council agreed to a motion to grant the Aeros the money.

The CAJHL appears to be expanding heading to the 2023-24 season.

New teams have been announced in Vulcan, Stavely, and Viking.

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