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AGM sets foundation as Nelson Leafs prepare for upcoming KIJHL season

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
May 26th, 2017

Former Nelson Mayor John Dooley is back at the helm for the Green and White as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League club held its annual general meeting Wednesday.

Dooley is joined by returning board members Karilynn Carr, Gioconda Gordon, Randy Craik and Lauretta Wilson.

New members voted to the board include Jeff Wright, Cory Viala and Peter Bayne. The trio replace Tony Maida, MJ Swetlikoe and Wendy Maida, who did not let their names stand for board positions.

“I put my name forward again because I believe we’ve turned the corner with the team and now have a bit of stability with the organization,” Dooley said. “Having said that there’s a few more things we want to get accomplished.”

Last season was the first full campaign for the coaching staff of Mario DiBella, Sean Dooley and Isaac MacLeod. The Leafs, finishing third in the Murdoch Division due to a late surge during the final weeks of the season, upset Castlegar Rebels in the first round of the playoffs — storming back from a 2-1 deficit to win the best-of-seven series in six games.

Nelson was then eliminated from the post season by eventual KIJHL Champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks in a tight series that was not indicative of the final 4-0 sweep.

The five playoff games combined along with solid attendance throughout the season and influx of revenue from Nelson Leafs Bottle Depot, allowed the franchise to survive financially in the always-tough entertainment business.

“We’re okay, but had a tough year as revenues were down for a couple of reason at the Bottle Depot,” Dooley explained.

“For some reason, we’re not getting the traffic through the facility as well we had a theft where someone stole money.”

“Plus, we invested money into the (Bottle Depot) facility for the past six months,” he added.

Dooley said staff is discussing ways to increase traffic through offering different products.

The coaching staff is back for another season behind the bench.

DiBella has been scouting players at several BC Hockey League camps and is excited at the prospects interested in coming to Nelson in the fall.

“A lot of teams measure success in wins and losses, and while we want to win we also measure success in the development of players and the quality of the individuals we attract,” Dooley said.

Nelson opens training camp in mid-August.

Exhibition games are set for later with the puck drop on the 2017-18 KIJHL regular season set for September.

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