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Shaw becomes first female president in Kings history


The Dauphin Kings reported a loss of more than $10,000 at its annual general meeting, last week.
A handful of people attended the meeting, which also featured the naming of a new president, as Dean Cooley stepped down after six years on the team’s board of directors, including the last two as team president.
Taking over from Cooley is Ashley Shaw, the first woman to serve as Kings team president.
When it comes to finances, the Kings reported revenues of $582,358, which included $207,487 in fund-raising, $77,432 in game night revenues, $19,218 in other revenue, $142,989 in sponsorships and $135,232 in ticket sales, an increase of $5,502 from the previous year.
Expenditures totalling $593,124, included $83,365 in administration costs, $23,011 for advertising, $54,933 for billets, $10,165 for the dressing room, $58,207 for equipment, $45,734 for occupancy, $35,080 for player personnel, $850 for the home opener, $84,190 for team travel, $72,437 for league fees, referees and miscellaneous costs and $125,152 for wages and benefits.
The team’s overall deficit sits $89,776, which includes $40,000 from the federal government loan program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was included in this year’s budget as demand debt. If 75 per cent of the loan is paid on or before, Dec. 31, 2022, then 25 per cent of the loan or $10,000 will be forgiven.
There were two factors in Cooley stepping down as president. He wishes to participate on a board in the automotive industry and stepping down from the Kings will allow him to do that.
“And secondly, I think a little bit of turnover is good for any board. Fresh ideas, fresh energy. And so I think it’s just a good time for me to step away,” he said, adding he feels the team is in “fantastic” shape going forward.
“I just think it’s a really strong board of directors that are there to look after the hockey club,” he said.
After six years on the board, including two years as president, there are plenty of things for Cooley to be proud of. What he is most proud of today is where the team currently stands.
“The best assets we have right now are our hockey players. And we have a fantastic list of 50 players that may some day play for the hockey club,” he said.
“Financially, I think we’re in a good position. We have a good business plan. We have wonderful controls within those plans. And a plan that will, hopefully, keep us in the black on a fairly regular basis and allow for this program to last for another 50 years.”
Shaw has been on the board for the last couple of years, learning the ropes of what it takes to run a junior hockey club.
Shaw played college hockey at the University of North Dakota and her family has been big Kings supporters over the years, as well. And her husband is former Kings forward Jason Shaw.
“It was an easy decision,” she said of becoming team president.
“Like Dean says, we’ve got a great board, so it’s pretty easy to decided yes, when you’ve got a good group of people behind you.”
Shaw hopes to use her experience to help the team move forward and feels she and head coach and general manager Doug Hedley can work together on some things that relate to players wanting to move on to higher levels of the game.
“I can help in that aspect a little bit if they need me to. But playing at a high level of hockey allowed me to understand what that next step really means and as much as I can help these players who are in our organization do that, then that would be great,” she said.
There are a number of challenges for hockey teams at all levels of the sport, the biggest right now being the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his report, governor Jason Gibbs stated he is confident the 2020-21 season will start on time in September.
“So I think for us, that will be the biggest challenge, is making sure everything is in place and we’re following all of the rules the government has put in place,” Shaw said.
“Other than that, I think it’s going to be a great season and we’re all looking forward to it.”
When it comes to the bottom line, the pandemic probably cost the Kings a chance to make a profit this season as they lost at least one home playoff game, as well as revenue from the team’s annual spring camp.
Attendance was up, with 20,294 fans taking in games at Credit Union Place, this season, an increase of 2,298 spectators.
Shaw is confident once the pandemic passes and life settles into its normalcy, the Kings can rebound and turn a profit next season.
“Once September rolls around and we have a good plan in place, I think our fans are going to be excited to come back and excited to watch the product that’s on the ice. So I think we’re in great shape,” she said.
When it comes to next season, Shaw is most encouraged about the on-ice product.
“With the talent that we have, I think it’s just going to be a really fun team to watch. Like Doug said, vying for top spot or going for a championship I think that’s great and it’s something we want to bring back to Dauphin,” she said.
As for becoming the first female president in team history, Shaw said it was not the reason she stepped into the role.
“I think it’s great whenever women, especially in sports or in hockey that I’m passionate about, can step up. It’s great,” she said.
Cooley noted Mary Barra is the chair and CEO of General Motors in the United States and is one of the top leaders in industry south of the border.
“So when you think of what’s going on in the world, male and female doesn’t matter anymore. It’s based on their skill set. I think it’s a positive move for junior hockey, not necessarily just the Dauphin Kings. And the skills that Ashley brings are the important part,” he said.

Doug Zywina