This season isn't the first time the hockey team has dealt with a budget shortfall. The entire program was struck from the 2007-08 school year budget for a $35,000 savings. The booster club raised enough to keep the players on the ice, but it's a reminder that things could still get worse.
"We expect hockey to be another target," Taillon said. "We're already thinking ahead to next year to try to anticipate the need to raise even more funding than we did this year."
The district is still paying for coaching, transportation and officials for all sports. Many other athletics expenses, such as money for new uniforms and night games, were deferred or removed.
The hockey team practices and plays at the Bethlehem YMCA. As a nonprofit entity, the YMCA wouldn't be able to eliminate the ice fees for the team, said Bethlehem YMCA Programming Director Curtis Hovey, but after looking into the legalities decided to allow the boosters to fundraise at games through 50/50 raffles and other means.
"We couldn't reduce the ice fees because we're in the same boat as they are," Hovey said. "We were able to allow them to do that inside."
Hovey declined to discuss details of the ice fee structure.
As in previous years, the boosters also collect the ticket take ($3 general, $2 for students) and run a concession stand at the games. The hockey team plays 12 regular season home games and practices five times a week at the YMCA.
Various area groups and businesses have made it a point to lend a helping hand to the team. On Monday, Feb. 1, Gregory's Barbershop in Delmar raised $715 through a four-hour fundraiser during which proceeds and donations from 40 haircuts were pooled.
It's the community's willingness to give that makes such events worthwhile, said owner Gregory Zorian.