Amherst refusing to provide grant to Ramblers...for now

Darrell Cole
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Councillor thinks town does enough for team

Amherst wants to hold more talks before agreeing to give the Ramblers a second annual $10,000 grant.

Amherst wants to hold more talks before agreeing to give the Ramblers a second annual $10,000 grant.

AMHERST – The president of the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers says he’s disappointed the town may not continue its funding support for the junior hockey team.

“It caught me off guard,” Jim Henwood said. “We were asked to show our need for the grant and we did that. That money means a lot to the operation of our hockey club. It’s a significant amount of money that we were counting on.”

While staff recommended a $10,000 grant for the team at council’s May committee-of-the-whole meeting on Monday, council elected to hold off on approving the allotment after Coun. George Baker questioned giving the team its second annual $10,000 grant when it already provides other incentives to the club.

“I support the Ramblers 100 per cent and think they’re important to the town and the stadium but we already give them $12,000 in advertising and we paid half their security,” Baker said. “Last year, we gave the $10,000. Now they want another $10,000 so we’ll be giving them a total of $22,000.”

Baker said the town has done its fair share and suggested the team is not holding the fundraising events it used to hold because it’s relying on the town’s grant.

“We have to justify the money we’re giving away,” Baker said.

Last year, the Ramblers approached both the town and the Municipality of Cumberland asking both to become sponsors of the club. While the county agreed to give $30,000 over three years, the town only agreed to give $10,000 with additional money being given after a financial statement showing need is provided.

Henwood said the need is there, and the team’s financial position will become well known at its annual meeting on May 28 at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

“There’s no question the need is there,” Henwood said. “Our attendance was down quite a bit from last year, our transportation costs were up a lot and we didn’t got as far as we hoped in the playoffs. It all adds up to a significant loss.”

Henwood said he’s disappointed that the team is the Amherst Ramblers and plays out of the Amherst Stadium, but may only get a grant from Cumberland County next season.

Henwood did not want to reveal the final figure until the membership has a chance to see it at the annual meeting.

“Thank goodness for the Toonie draw. It has brought in a lot of money for us this year and I hate to think where we’d be without it, but this hurts because we thought the town was a big supporter like the county,” Henwood said. “I just hope we get an opportunity to sit down and discuss this with them.”

Baker also questioned giving a $15,000 grant to the Downtown Business Advisory Committee for the Blueberry Harvest Festival when last year’s edition finished with a profit of $17,000.

“They’re not out there to make money, but they made a lot of money that they gave to the town and used some of it for the street party,” Baker said. “It still doesn’t make sense for them to request another $15,000.”

Baker said he believes the committee only asked for the money because the Rockabilly Festival got $25,000 last year.

When Amherst council holds its regular monthly meeting on Monday it’s expected to approve more than $50,000 in grants to various groups and organizations.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell


Organizations: Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers, Knights of Columbus Hall, Amherst council

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Amherst Stadium

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Recent comments

    May 28, 2014 - 11:10

    Cheryl, it's nice that the kids have a place to continue playing semi competitive hockey after midget b but we are talking about junior A hockey here, it's a business and a Amherst tradition so shhhhhh please.

    May 26, 2014 - 16:11


    • ramfan
      May 27, 2014 - 13:03

      What some are forgetting here is this is the home team,they have been in the league longer than any other team,amherst should support them,they always have,don't know about anyone else but I am proud to say I'm a ram fan,this has nothing to do with jr. c,we ram fans are proud of these young men,those who don't attend the games just don't understand,like I said a name change would be understood if the counsel keep dragging their feet.

    May 26, 2014 - 12:50


  • a western hockey fan
    May 26, 2014 - 12:35

    Tell the team sponsor (CIBC Wood Gundy) to foot the bill. They want the advertising, they can pay for it. If the Ramblers cant survive in Amherst, sell them or let them move to somewhere that really wants a team and not an ego-stroking tax write off......

  • Shawanoswe
    May 23, 2014 - 04:10

    I am wondering if the Ramblers see concessions from the Canteen? I am pretty sure they do not. I would guess about 3/4 of canteen profit comes from Rambler hockey games and everything else pays the bills. May be the Ramblers should ask for a cut of Canteen revenue! How about the town hands over advertising dollars to the Ramblers or at least 3/4 of the money, as in the board advertising. The Ramblers probably bring in on average +/- 28,000 fans, which is likely to be more than all other functions combined over the year. What would make more sense $10,000 to an organization that gives a community a sense of pride, something to cheer about or complain about through the long winter months. Gives young and old reasons to get out to a community event; moms, dads and children, grandparents and grand kids. On second thought let's rethink this and spend close to $40,000 on repairs to a building with no tenants, which would cost much more to make it occupant worthy. Has been empty for longer than I have lived here(+5 years).

  • Dawn
    May 22, 2014 - 20:13

    When the schools need money they do fund raising. Why are the players so lazy? Get them out there and raise some money on their own. Actually meet and greet the fans that cheer for them, not stick their hands out for handouts!

    May 22, 2014 - 16:24

    Hey Rod he had something to do with the $100,000.00 in debt that Jack on the Rocks spoke about but I don't think he owned anything but the canteen.

  • Rod
    May 22, 2014 - 14:14

    I read the column... and not being in the town but follow the Ramblers... I would be interested in seeing the Rambler's Balance Sheet as to where they are spending this money and what other revenue is being generated by business sponsors and other revenue generating activities. I think the point that the Ramblers are indeed a business and it is up to the ownership/management/coaching staff to ensure the product on the ice is worth admission at the door. Attendance was down last year and if you can't afford to drive the bus to Truro that's not the town of Amherst's fault. That is managements fault by not recognizing they need to factor in a losing/rebuilding season hence no butts in the seats. Baker, I believe, is asking some tough questions with good intentions to ensure tax payers dollars is spent wisely. By the way, wasn't George Baker one of the owners at one time???

    • Baker's Dozen
      May 22, 2014 - 15:55

      And doesn't/didn't the citizen George Baker get the concessions contract for the Stadium? Does this mean that Councillor Baker is shooting citizen Baker in his own foot?

  • Doug.P
    May 22, 2014 - 11:31

    So when do ticket sales and fundraising actually begin to sustain this team with out taxpayer life support? Those who simply want to throw money blindly at this operation might want to think about that for a second. Otherwise simply call the Amherst Ramblers the Town of Amherst and Cumberland County municipal hockey team. Hockey is a business. If you can't pay the bills with the product you sell then maybe its time to restructure.

  • Jack on the Rocks
    May 22, 2014 - 10:30

    Anybody who thinks the Rams will fold without this money is completely nuts....Long before any of the now executive was remotley involved with the team...they were $100,000 behind and made out ok...The Rams will clear more than the $10,000 on the next toonie want some real money,try fundraising..instead of some boxes you empty each week...

  • Ticked
    May 22, 2014 - 08:29

    Figures this town amazes me rams are a part of this towns history and leave it to the fools downtown to plow them under

  • Tunafish
    May 21, 2014 - 22:42

    So if Amherst is able to win a bid for the Fred Page Cup is the town council still going to say let them raise the money themselves because I'm sure their wouldn't be any economic spinoff from 4 or 5 five teams plus fans coming to town. Come out of er maybe we can spend the money on another park or possibly another one of those nifty Keibler elf houses.

  • MorethanoneOrg
    May 21, 2014 - 21:01

    Nice to see someone on council want answers. There are more organizations out there that bring money to the town and could use a handout, many youth groups other than the Ramblers. Why should they get half of the 50k and other have to share the rest. Looks like one is being greedy and not willing to do their own fundraising. Good for the council to want answers.

  • Ramfan
    May 21, 2014 - 17:07

    Can.'t believe what I'm reading here,sad day when the town counsel votes agains.t supporting the home team,but they spend on everything else,don't they know that the rams are the biggest drawing card for the stadium,more surprised at Baker ,says he supports the rams,don't think so.

    • ramfan
      May 22, 2014 - 17:34

      well maybe the name should changed to the Cumberland county ramblers,after all the county has commited,.