Nfld. & Labrador

Corner Brook Minor Hockey investigating financial irregularities, says mayor

The Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association is tens of thousands of dollars behind in payments for ice time.

Group is tens of thousands of dollars behind in payments to city, has filed police complaint

The Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association is behind in payments to the Corner Brook Civic Centre, which is owned and operated by the city. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association is tens of thousands of dollars behind in payments for ice time, and has asked the city for leniency after discovering financial irregularities in its accounts, says Mayor Jim Parsons.

CBMHA spends anywhere between $20,000 to $25,000 a month at the Corner Brook Civic Centre, Parsons said, but hasn't made a single payment to the city yet this year.

"We encouraged them to finish off their regular programming for the season — they only had a couple weeks left — and we would work with them to figure out some financing to recover the amounts owing," he said.

In a letter sent out to parents in mid-March, CBMHA president Jackie Simms said the association was currently going through a financial audit as a result of the discovery.

The Corner Brook Civic Centre is where Corner Brook Minor Hockey teams play their home games. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

An official with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary confirmed that the association made a complaint to the police, but would not provide further details. 

Review underway

Simms did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CBC News on Sunday.

However, in a statement released on Monday, the CBMHA said the financial issues were first discovered by the association's executive in the past few weeks, who then began a review.

The minor hockey association said it has since appointed a three-person volunteer review team to "investigate, confirm and quantify irregularities in the financial records of CBMHA."

Hockey will continue

Parsons said it's unclear where the money has gone, but he hopes that as the investigation continues, more information will be released.

"I know that they are investigating and trying to put in place exactly what the problems were," he said. "We're hopeful that they'll be able to get their house in order."

Parsons doesn't believe there's much of a risk that the Corner Brook Civic Centre will have to eat the cost of the ice time, and wants to reassure parents and athletes that the puck won't stop as the investigation continues.

"It's very important for us for hockey to continue in Corner Brook," he said.

In a letter sent out to parents in mid-March, Simms said the association was currently going through a financial audit as a result of the discovery.

The review will explore all the association's financial transactions since August 2017, provide any information on financial irregularities to the RNC, develop an updated budget, operating plan and strategy for financial recovery, Monday's statement said.

The association said the review will be completed "as quickly as possible," likely within the next seven to 10 days, and there will be no disruption to regular programs and activities.

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