Baker to step down as Ramblers president

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST - After eight seasons, George Baker is stepping down as president of the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.
Moments after a meeting looking for volunteers to assist in running the 41-year-old franchise wrapped up Wednesday evening, the 60-year-old Baker informed the Amherst Daily News that Oct. 1 would be his last day at the helm, but he has offered to step down sooner should a successor be found before then.
Baker cited other committments, including running his shuttle business and serving as a member of Amherst Town Council, as a major factor in the decision.
"The Amherst Ramblers are very important to me," Baker said. "I took eight years of my life to make sure the franchise would be stable in the community and enjoyed doing it.
"But in this organization, you have to guarantee at least $75,000 to $100,000 per year in fundraising in your budget, and you have to have volunteers willing to go out and sell tickets. We've always done it, but there are fewer and fewer people doing it, and soon people start to ask themselves, 'Well why should I do it all?'"
Baker also said other members of the executive would be resigning, but didn't specify whom.
He alluded to a group within the executive that didn't always see eye-to-eye with the way the team was being run.
"There were some issues brought up during the volunteer meeting that had nothing to do with the volunteer meeting, and that's just the same group," Baker said.
"Let's see those people come forward and help out with the organization. It's important to talk, but do the walking, too."
Baker said the team's bills have been paid going into this season and the club will not be operating with a deficit as it begins the 2009-10 campaign. He plans to put some names forward for consideration as his successor.
"If anybody in the community is willing to put their name in, by all means," said Baker. "But the president has to be more than just a figurehead. You have to be part of the team and work with the team."
Baker is also adamant that his successor is determined to keep the franchise in town.
"Whoever leads from here, if there's ever an option to sell, there has to be a guarantee that we can buy it back and keep the club in Amherst," he said.
Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker is willing to take on more duties within the organization.
"If this means I end up with more responsibility, which also means more accountability to the team and our fans, I understand that," he said.
"George did a a tremendous job. He took over the club when no one else wanted it, and that shows true character and leadership, but now it's time to move forward."
Crocker stressed the need for a strong business model within the organization that would make the club into a championship contender. The Ramblers won their only Kent Cup title in the 1989-90 season.
"It's a community team and it needs to stay a community team, but to run it the way it should be run, we need a three- or four-year plan in place that can make us into a championship-level club, and we need volunteers who can step up and help us accomplish that," Crocker said. "Our drafting has gone well to the point where we have 14 or 15 players coming back every year, so now we need to recruit players that can put us over the top."
A general meeting open to the public is scheduled for Sunday at 7 p.m., at the Amherst Fire Hall.

Organizations: Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Amherst Daily News, Amherst Town Council

Geographic location: AMHERST

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Recent comments

  • Sad Day
    January 18, 2010 - 11:22

    Thanks to George for all the hard work in pulling this team out of the gutter. You will be missed

    now we need to recruit players that can put us over the top.

    Why dont you coach the team over the top? The year Sweetland was here we had an incredible team. What happened?

    Put me over the top is all this is about.

    January 18, 2010 - 11:12

    thanks George for all the hard work u and the execs have done over the years u all did great now the team is debt free these so called volunteers want in, of course the do its easier now, where were they when volunteers were needed?

    p.s good luck ronnie, wayne,john, coryand the rest of your so called group u all know who u r
    lets see who is going to do as much as george has, none of u could ever follow in his foot steps!
    Your are goining to work hard this year ronnie (This comment has been edited by the moderator)

  • know it all
    January 18, 2010 - 11:01

    Thank you George for your countless hours and dedication to the Rams

  • peter
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    some people are a little disgruntled , maybe because they thought they were a little more important than they really are, like the title of GM , well the team was 160,000 dollars in debt and most involved at that time BAILED, the team is in the BLACK and have been for some time now, some people should learn to read a financial statement before they make one. i hope the team does well in the coming year and we have strayed from what is really important' keeping a team in Amherst for our KIDS to enjoy and for the boys on the ice, George has reminded me of this many times and i respect him not only because he is my father in law but what he does on a DAILY basis for this community

  • janice
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    Good luck to the ramblers, you are really going to miss George behind the wheel.

    And to you Mr. Belliveau, not only should George take credit for what he has done, he always has taken responsibility for any of his actions.

    January 18, 2010 - 10:52


  • ken1
    January 18, 2010 - 10:52

    George you are and will always be the face of the Rams .
    I for one would like to thank you for your dedication and countless hours spend doing Rams business .
    thank-you George

  • Davis
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    For sure the team's success on the ice has bailed the team out of some poor fundraising events or non-events.

    Counting on your hockey operations / team on the ice to make up for your regular season shortcomings is not a risk the team should take. It has worked out the last two years but it is too big of a gamble.

  • disgusted
    January 18, 2010 - 10:46

    It is a sad,sad day for the Rams. Thank you George for all your years of hard work and dedication. No one will ever take your place.

  • Get over it!
    January 18, 2010 - 10:44

    Good job George. You have worked hard to get things done.
    That said, the team is a community team not the possession of a small group of individuals who are not interested in letting anyone have their say and bullying anyone who does.

    If I don't sell one ticket for the team that does not mean that I can't have a say in a publicly owned organization. I pay my taxes in the town, unlike some executive members, and I should have the right to speak at a meeting without getting yelled at or insulted by executive members.

    I do appreciate all the work that goes into the organization but that does not make it the property of the few executive members who wanted to run it as their private club.

    By the way.... Crocker was not insulting George Baker when discussing a strong business model . Wow, shake your head.

  • Another 2 Cents
    January 18, 2010 - 10:39

    Politicians, business people, etc, are in it for their own self-interest. Make a dollar or use public office as a stepping stone to something bigger (usualy a bigger pocket book).

    We can hear the rhetoric about what's best for the town, for the kids, the community, etc.

    It is volunteers that make it better, not people on the other end of a cheque book.

  • power
    January 18, 2010 - 10:38

    past president kidney foundation, involved in the cancer society, president mens bowling league, mens slowpitch, hart and stroke, big bike ride organizer, has a plack on his wall from the YMCA thanking him for heading a team and keeping it in amherst, town council for many many years , president Amherst Ramblers, president of the bluenose tourney, and the list goes on, so as far as his experence well ??????????????

  • Tonya
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    Well, Well. Mr. Crocker saying that George Baker is not a strong Business model. Him and the past/present excutive got that club out of dept. What are you trying to prove? This comment has been edited by a moderator.

  • Another 2 Cents
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    How much of my tax dollar went into that there stadium and the team over the years.

    People support tax dollars going to this but criticize it going to many other things, skatepark, YMCA, etc.

  • power
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    now the team is out of dept and all the hard work is done, crocker and company decide to put in who they can RUN ! sad day for the rams when george steps down, bye bye rams after the desolve the membership the team will be sold to the highest bidder