Crunch receives support for upcoming season

The day before their first home exhibition game, the Cochrane Crunch accepted a generous contribution from Desjardins Voyageurs Caisse Populaire Credit Union.

Deborah Morin
More from Deborah Morin   – The Cochrane-Times Post

A $10 thousand dollar cheque was presented to Ryan Leonard and team by Robert Boucher, President of Desjardins the Polar Bear Habitat and included dignitaries from Desjardins, members of council and the Crunch team.

Denis Vallee, Vice-President of Desjardins opened the ceremonies by welcoming everyone.

Desjardins has fourteen branches in Ontario with 150 staff.

Vallee said “As a cooperative, the profits are put back into the communities and members they serve. We support community development by giving back $220,000 in sponsorship in Ontario. These monetary contributions have supported schools, hospitals, festivals and community organizations like winter carnivals, food bank and others. We are particularly committed to youth. So, it is why it is quite appropriate that we support the Cochrane Crunch.”

Vallee informed those in attendance that the main hall of the Tim Horton Events Centre (THEC) was named in the financial institutes honour because of their contribution of $70 thousand at the time that THEC was built. The credit union also donated $20 thousand to the Commando Park project.

He said that the food bank is one of the groups that Desjardins supports both financially as well as in manpower helping during food drives with the assistance of Crunch players.

Vallee said “Our mission and purpose is to enrich the lives of people and their communities.”

On behalf of council and the mayor, Rodney Hoogenhoud welcomed the Cochrane Crunch and the delegates of Desjardins.

Councillors Desmond O’Connor and Robert Hutchinson were also at the presentation.

“It is a pleasure to be here today to have the opportunity to represent the mayor, council and the members of the community,” said Hoogenhoud. “Desjardins is assisting many young men fulfil their dreams of playing hockey at the NOJH level. These dreams would not be possible without generosity and support. We would like to thank the members of Desjardins here and those who couldn’t make it for helping the Cochrane Crunch.”

Vallee asked each of the players to introduced themselves and say where they were from.

Robert Boucher, President of the Desjardins for the area addressed the attendees with a welcome.

“It is our mission and our purpose that we truly hold to our heart to enrich the lives of our members, our clients and our communities in which we operate. Today is another clear demonstration of putting in action what we truly believe in so that it is not just words,” said Boucher.

“It is my pleasure to announce that we will be presenting the Cochrane Crunch hockey team with a $10 thousand contribution. Although it isn’t a condition of the contribution for the 2019-2020 season,” jokes Boucher. “We don’t want to put any undue pressure on you guys or the coach, but we would love to see our Cochrane Crunch finish in the top 2019-2020 season and bring home the grand prize.”

Ryan Leonard, owner/coach for the Cochrane Crunch thanked Boucher and all the representatives of Desjardins.

“We want to thank Desjardins for stepping up, this is a big contribution for our team,” said Leonard.

He continued to say that the Cochrane Crunch “was just not a hockey team. They do a lot in the community. This is now season six and we take part in the food bank drives, we help out at the senior centre, we have kids programs running for hockey teams, we run a hockey camp for kids in the summer time as well as extra curricular activities. We do over 13 activities during the season so it isn’t just on ice.

“A contribution like this going to the Cochrane Crunch, is still going back to the youth of the community to be involved and that is what is great about junior hockey. These guys come here and give back to the community. It recreates community spirit. It gives a night out for the community to give them something to do.

Leonard continued “It is huge for the whole community and area. If it wasn’t for community partners like Desjardins, Paps, Island Falls, Expedition, Detour and Genier Bros. and if it wasn’t for all these guys, the team wouldn’t be able to be successful in small communities like Cochrane with 5,500 people.”

According to Leonard the Cochrane Crunch works with a budget of about $315 thousand dollars. The players contribute about $90 thousand so the team has to make up the other $215 thousand to keep the players on the ice.

“Our target is about $125 thousand in community partnerships and $100 from community events be it the hockey schools, and other events and season tickets,” he told those in attendance.

Leonard said that season tickets generally contribute to $75 thousand of the budget but currently they only have $25-30 thousand in sales.

“It isn’t just a hockey team: you go on the road, players have to stay in hotels, the bus, the meals. So this money goes a long way to keep the team in the community and it is something that we are very proud of,” he concluded. “We are proud we have big community sponsors such as yourselves and if it wasn’t for you guys this team wouldn’t be possible.”