VIRDEN OIL CAPITALS JR A HOCKEY CLUB
THE FIRST FIVE YEARS: REFLECT AND EXPECT
It was only a short five years ago when in the spring of 2012 our local group announced the purchase of the Winnipeg Saints of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and their relocation to Virden. A couple of months later on a windy day at Victoria Park, the Virden Oil Capitals were unveiled and our first victory achieved. We knew very little about running a junior hockey franchise but we were excited and ready to conquer the league. Reflecting on the last five years, we have learned more than we could have ever imagined. We have had successes and we have challenges, and we are learning from both.
From the beginning, we wanted to establish a culture that fostered work ethic and leadership. Fans of the game only see what the players leave out on the ice, but from within the organization, we see more than just their athleticism. We have 20-25 young men, each with their own set of skills and circumstances, some are even still in high school. Our goal is to bring these young men into our community and not only teach them the game of hockey, but prepare them for the game of life. We want to challenge them by putting them into situations that will prepare them for success and teach them how to achieve it. Some of these young men are here for a short time while others spend their entire junior career with us. When they leave, we want them to take a piece of the Virden Oil Capitals culture with them. We want them to have an experience that will make them better hockey players, better students, and ultimately better citizens. One of the things we are very proud of is the establishment Virden Oil Capitals Foundation. The foundation was established to give back to local organizations, service groups and communities through monetary donations, team merchandise and scholarships.
No different than in hockey operations, we have achieved both success and challenge with the business operation of the franchise. The Virden Oil Capitals are owned by a number of local investors looking to make a contribution to the community. They wanted to bring Junior A hockey to the southwestern region of the Province and give this area a team to be proud of and to rally around to build community pride. The challenge is, as anybody that has been involved in a Junior A hockey will tell you, it’s a tough business. In our five years, we have yet to turn a profit. In part, this is because we wanted to build this franchise properly from the beginning. We know this is not sustainable. Ideally, we will turn small profits from year to year that can be invested back into the hockey team. However, we do believe that we have given this franchise a good start in making the Virden Oil Capitals a great place for your players to play junior hockey.
Ultimately, the success of a hockey team is measured by whether or not it is winning. It has always been our belief that if we work hard to plan and prepare properly, winning championships becomes the result. In our short existence, we are still working hard to win that first championship. What we have done is built some natural and competitive rivalries. We have achieved some playoff successes, including two league semi-final appearances. These are experiences our team will draw upon and learn from as we continue to build towards being league champions.
We want to thank all our Virden Oil Capitals fans, season ticketholders, volunteers, billets and corporate partners. You have played a vital role in helping us to establish our organization as a great place for players to play hockey and for fans to watch hockey. You have helped create our culture and prepare this franchise for success. It is now up to us to take this team to the next level. We are excited for the 2017-2018 season and look to bring home a championship!