By: Jennifer Lavin – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks have a strong leadership team, great players, and a fantastic facility. Now what they need is you.
Like any MJHL team, the Nighthawks require a crew of volunteers to make their team successful—and volunteer coordinator Fran Giesbrecht is working to make that happen.
Giesbrecht says that there are many different opportunities for people who want to join the Nighthawks family.
“We have a good network of dedicated and reliable volunteers,” says Giesbrecht. “But we are looking at a season of 30-plus games, so we’re going to need a lot more volunteers.”
The Nighthawks need bartenders, merchandise and 50/50 ticket sellers, security personnel, and hosts.
Each of these positions involve donating time on game days. The commitment is for approximately four to five hours.
Giesbrecht says that she would accept volunteers for even just one game, but ideally the team would like to see people donate time for a few games as there is training involved for each position.
Right now the most pressing need is for bartenders. Serving alcohol in Manitoba requires the completion of the Smart Choices course, so Giesbrecht is looking for volunteers who have already taken the course or who are willing to take it. Smart Choices can be taken online and the team will cover the fees involved.
Most volunteer opportunities with the Nighthawks franchise are for adults, but Giesbrecht says they are trying to find some options for the younger crowd.
“We are looking for things for the under-18 to do, because we want them involved,” she says.
Will Cuccaro wanted to get involved with the Nighthawks and decided to volunteer his services. He’s now on multiple committees and has been impressed with the way the operation has been run.
Cuccaro says that the team wants to be a high-quality organization from the ground up.
“I think it’s well regarded that the Nighthawks wouldn’t be running the kind of operation that they’re running or the kind of operation that they expect to run without volunteers stepping up to help them out,” Cuccaro says. “A Junior team doesn’t have a budget like the Winnipeg Jets to pay for all these roles to exist, so they rely on a dedicated team of volunteers. If you want to execute, and execute with quality and attention to detail… these volunteers are critically important.”
Cuccaro has also been impressed with how much the volunteers’ work and input has been valued. He feels that everyone on the team, from the general manager on down, truly listens to what is being noticed and suggested by the volunteers.
“Decisions are being made by the board of directors with the complete input of the volunteer committee members who are also soliciting information from their volunteers,” Cuccaro says. “For me, what makes it so easy to volunteer is that I don’t feel like my time is being taken from me. I’m putting my time into something that is bigger and better for our community, our kids, our families, for everybody who’s going to travel here to come see the Nighthawks play.”
As for Giesbrecht, she is a volunteer herself and she does the job to give back.
“Our son Justin went through the Junior A program where he was billeted, and we went to his games,” she says. “We saw what it takes to run these games. We’re forever grateful.”
Not only is Giesbrecht the volunteer coordinator, but she has also chosen to welcome two players to stay in her home.
“We just want to pay back, because it’s huge when these parents send their 17- to 20-year-old boys to a community to play hockey. It’s a first step in a hockey career and it’s an important step. I want to give these boys a really great experience in hockey, and hopefully some of their dreams will come true.”
To join the Nighthawks family of volunteers contact firstname.lastname@example.org