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Nighthawks Update: Community Ownership, Shareholders, and Season Tickets

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Nighthawks board members Jeremy Braun, Ray Dowse, and Clarence Braun. Justin Braun

As the Niverville Nighthawks continue to gear up for their inaugural season, their board of directors is excited to announce that members of the public will soon be able to own a piece of the team.

“The new MJHL team that is set to start play in Niverville this fall will contribute to the identity of this community, proudly representing this region on a provincial stage, and hopefully someday at the national tournament,” says Ray Dowse, vice president of the board. “There will be a lot of contributing factors helping this organization get on its feet. However, a critical piece is the people and organizations who choose to join the Niverville Nighthawks community ownership group.”

Community ownership means that the team is effectively owned by the members of the community, both individuals and businesses who choose to invest.

Because the organization operates as a non-profit, Dowse says that those who invest should do so “with the understanding that the greatest return will be the positive impact it will have on the community and region as a whole.”

The community ownership model has seen great success in junior hockey. Dowse suggests that this is because it engages such a large segment of the population of each team’s community.

“And when things need to get done, it promotes cooperation and collaboration between the many different stakeholders,” he says.

There are two types of shareholders in the Nighthawks organization: founder shareholders and legacy shareholders. Both are essential to the club’s success.

The founder shareholders will be the backbone of the Nighthawks. Each founder shareholder will have voting rights, and the group will collectively assume the team’s operational and financial responsibilities.

The team’s first board of directors has already been chosen from the founder shareholders. All future board members will also be chosen from this group.

The cost to become a founder shareholder is $10,000. That money will be used for team start-up and operational costs.

So far nearly 50 founder shareholder positions have been secured, with more under consideration.

“Having a significant number of shareholders such as this backing the organization is positive for the Nighthawks,” Dowse says. “It creates a very strong foundation for the team to work from going forward.”

He adds that becoming a founder shareholder comes with several significant benefits. Founder shareholders will have the first chances to secure team sponsorships, season tickets, and exclusive events and merchandise.

“The board of directors is currently finalizing our shareholder agreement, and we anticipate our list of committed founder shareholders will be made official in the coming weeks,” Dowse explains.

The second group of owners, legacy shareholders, will also play a significant part in the organization.

“Although legacy shareholders will not have voting rights, they will receive regular team communication, copies of annual team financials, and the option to secure season tickets and passes to team events before being offered to the general public, along with some team merchandise.”

Although there are many opportunities to be involved with team operations, legacy shareholders will not be required to foot any additional financial responsibilities or obligations other than the initial purchase cost.

The cost of a legacy share is $1,400. Of that cost, $1,000 is eligible for a tax receipt from the Town of Niverville. The majority of the funds raised through these legacy shares will be used directly for infrastructure at the CRRC.

The Nighthawks have a goal to attain 250 legacy shareholders, which would raise $250,000 for the CRRC.

The infrastructure currently required is a second bleacher system, this one on the east side of the arena around the player boxes, as well as a new permanent dressing room for the exclusive use of the Nighthawks.

“The development of the plans, material purchase, and all the costs of installation are to be borne by the Nighthawks,” Dowse says. “The plan has been established and we are working through final pricing. Our goal is to get started on construction once sufficient funds have been raised.”

Additional legacy shareholder information will be available in the first week in May.

The season ticket waitlist for the Nighthawks will also open in the first week in May. The first opportunity to secure season tickets will go to the founder shareholders. After that, legacy shareholders will get their turn.

At that point, any remaining seats will be offered to those on the public waitlist.

Tickets for the existing bleachers on the west side of the arena will be assigned seating. The soon-to-be built east side bleachers will be general admission, with no assigned seating.

Dowse says that there is still a need for a more billet families for Nighthawks players.

For those who are interested in volunteering to help Niverville’s new team in any other way, the team will soon put out a volunteer call. There will be many opportunities and the board plans to create a list of volunteers and their specific areas of interest. “We are looking to create an experience with this organization—players, management, fans, volunteers, and the community as a whole,” says Dowse. “It’s very exciting to be part of something like this. The opportunity to join the team as a shareholder is definitely unique.”

For more information

www.nivervillejrhockey.ca

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