Warriors' Booster Club has Banner Year


Robert Thomas

At this season's home opener the Moose Jaw Warriors hung two banners in recognition of their 2017-2018 campaign but if they were to hang a third banner belonging to another team it would undoubtedly belong to the Warriors' Booster Club, a non-profit group that assists in the development of the Warriors Club and players by organizing fun events"

Recently the Booster Club presented a cheque representing the $450,952.97 they raised in 2017-2018 to the Warriors. 

Compared to other years the Booster Club had a great year, says Randy Nesvold, the club's President. The Booster Club raised double the amount they raised in 2015-2016.

The bulk of the funds, 89 percent, come from the sales of 50/50 tickets during the Warrior's pre-season, regular season and playoff games. The other 11 percent was raised from the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) tour, the Canada/Russia game, Season Ticket 50/50 sales, Seat Draws, Nevada tickets and hockey pools. 

Exhibition and regular season games contributed 68 percent of the 50/50 total, with the playoffs contributing the other 32 percent.

People lining up for the record setting 50/50

People lining up for the record setting 50/50

“The Warriors yearly budget is based on exhibition and regular season games. You can see from above, our fundraised amount exponentially increases in playoffs! Exhibition and regular season games last year totaled 38 games and we had 8 playoff games. In those 8 games during playoffs 50/50 raised 38% of the total 5050 amount. Definitely more excitement and certainly more “Butts in Seats” attributes to the gain!” Nesvold wrote in an email. 

The money raised by the Booster Club in 50/50 sales goes to the Education Fund which can be used by Warriors' players to further their educational goals while with the team or within 18 months of leaving the WHL.

The fund provides books and tuition to attend post secondary studies and works on a system of one year of post secondary education for each year in the WHL or with the Warriors’. 

“Once a player gets drafted to the WHL, they sign a “player contract” which grants them scholarship money based on the number of months they play for a particular hockey club. All of the contracts are administered through the WHL office in Calgary. Each team receives notification from the WHL that a particular player has made application to the WHL for scholarship money which has been calculated and approved by the WHL. The Warriors solicitor, as administrator of the scholarship funds, makes the payments directly to the WHL,” Nesvold wrote about how the fund works. 

Despite the amount of work involved, Booster Club members, who are volunteers, take pride in what they do.

“The Booster Club takes pride in trying to raise equal to if not better than year’s before, the group knows the more we raise keeps the costs down for the team. Especially keeps the price for a game ticket from increasing, in turn benefits the fans!” Nesvold wrote, adding “In regards to the Booster Club, we are nothing and certainly not successful if it were not for our incredible Warrior Fans! They continue to support this team more and more every year!”

It needs to be noted season ticket sales for the Warriors 2018-2019 campaign are better than last year's banner season.

“Certainly on busier nights it is an “all-in effort” from everyone on the Booster Club. As amounts increase over the years it certainly takes up way more time on bookkeeping and financial audits.  But that is a good thing! Off season certainly requires less effort from most of the members, but the executive is continually working on finishing up year-end reports and applying for next years licenses,” Nesvold wrote when asked whether it was hard work.

Other events help raise funds for the Education Fund.

“With the addition of the yearly Alumni Golf Tournament, it has certainly lessened our annual financial commitment to the Education Fund.  The golf tournament raises an incredible amount of money all directed to the Education Fund. Each year the scholarship amount varies for the Warriors. This year the Booster Club contributed all the funds raised from the PBR 50/50,” he wrote. 

Asked how he felt about raising money for the Education Fund, Nesvold wrote that it made him feel good.

“The Booster Club always refers to the players as “our boys”! The goal is to hope they are successful whether it is on or off the ice while they reside in Moose Jaw and after they move on, whether hockey is full time or not. We love when they “come home” for a visit!” he wrote, adding “It is a great fund and an incredible opportunity for the players! As school fees and books increase, this gives them help they need to offset University costs if they decide to pursue their education.”

Asked for his personal opinion about the importance of school for not just the team but everyone, he said it is highly important "and definitely encouraged by the Warrior organization. Not many “move on to the Show”, so the reality is to have fun but prepare for your future outside of the hockey life.  The Booster Club is very proud of Zach Sawchenko, who basically grew up with the Warriors. He was an academic scholar while attending high school in Moose Jaw, not to mention a stellar goalie. To leave the WHL when you have a year left in junior hockey, on a team that was in the hunt for the championship, takes a focused young man who has made an important life decision.  As much as we were disappointed for us, we were very proud of him. The Warriors loss was Zach’s and the University of Alberta Golden Bears gain!” Nesvold replied. 

Despite people thinking Booster Club members get into games for free, the amount of work they do means for the most part they don’t have the opportunity to watch most of the games.

“The Booster Club was always and remains the Warriors biggest fans. In the beginning the Booster Club was formed in an effort to raise funds to keep the team in Moose Jaw and viable.  Most of the members were fans.  That being said they now help out the team but on most nights get to see very little of the game.  I myself enjoy when we play in Regina as I actually get to watch a game.” 

Nesvold said despite giving the Warriors a big cheque it only represents the entire amount the Booster Club contributes.

Being a non-profit and having their fundraising regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) the Booster Club has to maintain records and the Warriors need to apply for funds. The Booster Club is allowed to contribute to more than the Education Fund so long as it is a use approved by the SLGA license.

The SLGA licensing allows funds to be approved for:

-        Educational Equipment & Programs

-        Facility Expenses

-        Travel (within Saskatchewan): Sports Programs, Conferences, Education, Performing Arts

-        Bursaries & Scholarships (ie. Education Fund)

-        Travel (Outside Saskatchewan): Sports Programs, Conferences, Education, Performing Arts