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Due to financial circumstances, Owatonna Youth Hockey Association (OYHA) announces several changes for the upcoming season. Fees will increase, teams will play in one less travel tournament, and the position of Executive Director has been eliminated.

Association president Dave Swenson announced the changes in a letter to OYHA families released on Owatonnahockey.com early in August, "Summer has turned a corner and together we face the fall and winter with many questions about the coming hockey season. Many things are still to be decided but we are moving forward as normally as possible."

Online registration has begun and must be completed by August 25. Families are still asked to attend registration night on Tuesday, August 25 from 5 to 8 pm at the rink to submit forms, checks and pick up raffle tickets.

Swenson wrote, "Because of the loss of gaming income for about three months, our cash flow circumstances has required us to end our relationship with our Executive Director Pat Cullen, effective August 15, 2020. Pat brought many great attributes to OYHA and we thank him for his service to the organization and wish him well. With that change, some reorganization will have to take place for the coming season."

Fees will increase $100 to $500 for 10U, $600 for 12U, and $700 for 15U. "We will not be doing the SpareTime fundraiser any longer so that $100 is simply added on to last year's fees." But Swenson adds, "We understand that the pandemic could very well have impacted some of our member families. With that in mind, we are implementing a new scholarship program this season...The bottom line is that we want every child who wants to play the game to play the game regardless of family finances."

Teams will play one less travel tournament this coming season, but should not see a reduction in the number of games played, "On a per-game basis, tournaments are more expensive than regular games."

Swenson also says the volunteer opportunities are yet to be determined, "Dibs will be up in the air as we start the season as don't know if our concession stand will operate as normal. We don't know how many spectators will be allowed in the rinks this season."

On a personal note, I have worked with Swenson for years and can only imagine the difficulty he and the board faced in making these decisions. Swenson has worked color commentating on air for junior and high school hockey in addition to being a coach, official, and hockey parent over the years.