Stepping up to the challenge



Submitted photo. Brian McCannell, newly appointed president of the Neepawa Yellowhead Centre.

By Cassandra Wehrhahn 

Neepawa Banner & Press

The Neepawa Yellowhead Centre (YHC) has a new president, elected by acclamation at their 7:00 p.m. AGM meeting on Monday, Oct. 15. After four years, Darian Major is stepping down from the president’s seat after the end of his term to welcome a fresh face, Brian McCannell, to the position. Typically presidency ends after three years, but Major stayed on, with the board’s approval, for an additional year to smooth out a transitional period.

“I think it will be exciting to have a new viewpoint and a fresh set of eyes on the business,” said Major. “He [McCannell] has a financial background in banking, so I think those attributes lend themselves well to overseeing the role as president in the Yellowhead Centre.”

Major will now take on a new role on the YHC board, focussing on fundraising to improve the facility and investments towards the possibility of a new building, as the current one is 47 years old.

“We need to begin looking at raising money for a new facility, and we need to have money in the bank if we’re going to build one. We have to develop fundraising initiatives because a new arena and community centre just doesn’t happen overnight.,” Major explained. “We’ve made some significant renovations over the last three years, however there are major structural issues that will be need to dealt with within the next 30 to 40 years, and that will require us to build an entirely new facility.”

Darian’s tenure highlights

Highlights during Major’s tenure include items from the YHC’s Capital Projects Improvement Plan, such as:

•New arena boards and glass.

•New benches.

•New centre-ice score clock.

•Two dehumidifiers to reduce dampness in the arena to improving both the spectator’s experience and ice quality.

•Worked to utilize the arena during the summer months.

•Initiatives to improve ice utilization. (Up over 25% in the last 5 years.)

•New LED lights throughout the entire facility.

In short, the arena is now being used “more than ever before”. Major also stressed that all capital projects have been fully paid for through government grants and/or sponsors, preventing direct cost to the YHC or the user groups (the folks using the facility).

The new president

Brian McCannell, newly appointed president of the YHC board, has been a member for two years, with his third coming up. He worked at the hockey rink previously in his life during high school for a period of three summers, sponsored by Harris Pharmacy. McCannell shared his motivations in seeking presidency with the Banner & Press on Tuesday.

“I’ve spent a long time in the hockey rink growing up. Growing up around Neepawa, I played minor hockey in Neepawa and went off to highschool and senior hockey,” McCannell enthused. “I figured a lot of people on the board have already served as president and done a lot of volunteer work, so I felt it was my time to pop up and take on the role.”

Having worked with Major over the last few years on the board, and being a hockey coach throughout his life, McCannell says he has learned a few things and is ready to go. McCannell is set to keep moving forward with the capital improvement plans so the facility viable for years to come.

In a closing comment, McCannell stated “I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’ve got a great board and a great staff which we’re lucky to have. I think in the next three years I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do to keep on improving the rink and the hall so all the user groups in the community can enjoy it.”