IHA Update – The 2023 AGM
Ice Hockey Australia Held its AGM on July 22nd 2023. IHA is a company by limited guarantee, and the AGM is attended by the Member Associations (IHACT, IHNSW, IHQ, IHSA, IHV, IHWA, OiHAN, and the AIHL) with life members also invited to attend.
At the 2023 AGM, which was held virtually via Teams, IHA GM provided a written report to the MAs and IHA President, Ryan O’Handley addressed the MAs on the past season which was unprecedented as it saw a relaunch of state and national competitions and programs after the COVID pandemic.
An audited financial report was also provided to the MAs. The IHA financial year runs from March 1st– February 28th and in the last financial year (ending February 28th, 2023) IHA reported an operational loss of $373,077. However, this loss was offset by an operating surplus of $509,595 in the financial year ending February 28, 2022.
The operational loss for last season was expected as significant investment has been made to restart our national programs and absorb higher than normal operating costs as the sport emerged from the COVID 19 pandemic. National team costs, for example, were significantly elevated last season. In a normal season, IHA sends 5 teams to the IIHF world championships, typically between January and April (Men, Women, U20 Men, U18 Men and U18 Women). However, as the sport restarted globally, the IIHF rescheduled several tournaments, which resulted in IHA sending 8 teams during the season, with the Women, U18 Women and U20 Men each participating twice. Funding for each of the national teams consists of a travel grant from the IIHF, a grant from IHA, and a financial contribution from the players. Travel costs for the national teams were significantly elevated in 2022 and therefore IHA increased financial support for teams so that player payments could be capped at a reasonable level. While this increased support for national teams contributed significantly to the operating loss last season, it was covered by the operating surplus in 2021 where no national teams participated in world championships. IHA is also extremely proud of all of our national teams who participated in championships around the world as it clearly indicates the growth in our sport in Australia.
The sport has also seen a substantial increase in insurance premiums. As the National Sporting Organisation for Ice Hockey, IHA provides individual members with insurance as part of their registration fees. Despite having lodged relatively few insurance claims during the pandemic, our insurance premium increased by 33% in the last financial year. IHA elected to cover these increased costs from the 2021 surplus rather than pass them on to individual members. In addition to this, IHA increased support for national championships, national leagues (AWIHL and AJIHL) and the national development camps. This increased investment was required to restart these programs and keep them affordable for participants in the face of increased costs post COVID. Providing support and investment for our leagues and championships is an important step forward for the sport in Australia and one IHA is committed to going forward.
As the operating loss from last season was covered by the operating surplus in 2021, IHA remains in a strong financial position. Operational costs, especially for national teams, have normalised this season and we anticipate a return close to a pre-covid budget.
The AGM also included the election of directors and there were 2 vacancies due to the retirement of Shae Gañac from the IHA board. Shae did a tremendous job serving on the IHA board for the past couple of years and we thank her for her efforts on behalf of the entire ice hockey community. Shae is also on the IIHF Asia Oceania Committee and will still have an active role in the sport at the international level. At the AGM, Kathy Rogers was re-elected to the board, and we welcome Karla Quinn, who was elected to oversee the Marketing and Communications portfolio left vacant with Shae’s retirement. It should be noted that Suzanne Garas was appointed to the board a few weeks prior to the AGM and we wish to welcome her into the role of managing Leagues and Tournaments. IHA now has the full complement of board members (6 elected and 3 appointed) as per the constitution and we look forward to working on behalf of our Member Associations and individual members to grow, develop and promote the sport of Ice Hockey. In addition to electing directors, the MAs were required to vote on changes to the constitution proposed by the Members. These changes were adopted, and the constitution will be updated as per these amendments.
Overall, it was a very good AGM we thank everyone who dialled in. We would also like to acknowledge and thank all our volunteers across the country who have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to restart our sport. Please note, The GM and President reports, the audited financial statements, and the updated constitution will be available shortly on the IHA website.