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As supporters of minor hockey associations, have you had a moment when you realized you forgot to purchase your tickets for the weekly draw?
Have you found yourself rushing to the local corner store to get your tickets before the collection for the draw on Sundays?
Speaking from experience, it happens.
Although the only way to be part of the draw currently is to physically sign a ticket each week, as society continues to change, organizations will need to find new ways to raise money.
Among the things the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, online purchasing is becoming increasingly popular. It was popular to begin with, but even more so now given health concerns with the virus.
Life will eventually return to normal, but the way things are conducted, like ticket purchases, are likely to continue online because it's easy and less time consuming.
Over the past year, more organizations and groups, not by choice, have turned their attention to raising funds with online ticket sales through various different websites including Rafflebox.
For example, the Amherst Firefighters Association created an online weekly 50/50 draw last June for fire departments across the province. The reason, the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the cancellation of different in-person fundraisers like bingo games.
Knowing they weren't the only association suffering by not being out in the community raising money, they asked fire departments across the province to join in on an effort to ease the financial burden.
Speaking with the Glace Bay Volunteer Fire Department last week, the online 50/50 draw has been a blessing for them. Prior to COVID-19, the department had been raising money through a Chase the Ace event but have made more with the 50/50 than the in-person event itself.
Since Oct. 8, the firefighters' jackpot has been more than $100,000 each week.
WILL IT CONTINUE?
As the draw continues, it's only a matter of time before other groups, like minor hockey associations, see the success and try to be part of the online trend. We saw the snowball effect when Chase the Ace became popular in Inverness and Sydney a few years ago.
The format in which minor hockey draws take place today is still successful.
Last week, the Glace Bay Minor Hockey Association draw was more than $40,000 and the Cape Breton Minor Hockey Partners Even Split Draw was more than $36,000.
Meanwhile, smaller associations have small draws. Northside and District's draw was more than $15,000, while New Waterford was more than $6,000. No shame with those prizes.
However, one can only imagine what all these draws would be like if they were able to also sell tickets online. It would give associations more access to reaching potential buyers across the province and not just locally.
Of course, with gaming rules, tickets would only be allowed to be purchased within Nova Scotia.
Right now, players receive a percentage of each ticket they sell which goes into player accounts for registration or other needs of the player.
The individual player benefits could continue with online ticket sales.
If an association was to sell tickets online through Rafflebox, buyers would have the choice of selecting the player they'd like to support by clicking their name in a dropbox, just like the firefighters draw.
Switching to an online format, along with keeping physical tickets as well, will continue to benefit players while increasing jackpots for all.
Each week, associations seek volunteers to help with ticket collection in preparation for the draws.
It can be tough finding people to volunteer, not because nobody wants to, but because of busy life schedules.
Having online ticket sales requires no volunteers. Basically, the money collects itself and no in-person interaction is necessary.
With online trends growing each year, don't be surprised if online ticket sales for minor hockey draws soon become a new normal sooner rather than later.
Jeremy Fraser covers sports for the Cape Breton Post. He welcomes column ideas, sports story suggestions or feedback about this week’s Sports Chat.
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