Capitals Rundown- 3 Game Series

The Washington Capitals were heading into their series with the Florida Panthers as the biggest underdogs next to the Nashville Predators. Nobody really thought the Caps could get out of this series, some didn’t even see the Caps getting a win. Despite only seeing about a minute of game time from Tom Wilson this series as well as a goaltending change, the Capitals have the series tied at 2-2 going back to the Sunshine State.

How can the Capitals close this series?

A series tied 2-2 with the President’s Trophy-winning Panthers is nothing short of incredible. On paper, the Panthers are very reminiscent of the Capitals of yesteryear. A painfully strong, young core. Veteran Leadership, star-studded goaltending, and very fast, physical play. The Caps have managed to handle that pretty well, despite being one of the oldest teams in the league.

Perhaps one of the biggest points of success the Capitals are finding is by playing some of their best defense all year. Going into the series, Coach Peter Laviolette knew how to weather that dangerous Florida attack. By sitting back and sitting in a 1-3-1 defensive shape, the Caps are limiting clean zone entries and causing turnovers in the neutral zone. Along with strong, even strength play, the Cap’s penalty kill remains perfect among one of the deadliest power plays in the league this year.

To continue giving themselves a chance, the Cap’s are going to need to continue to be strong in a few areas:

  • Physical Play- Even without Tom Wilson, the Caps have matched the intense and forbearing physical play by the Panthers. If they allow them to begin to dictate physicality, the Caps are going to slip down a slope they don’t want to go down.
  • Solid Goaltending- Ilya Samsonov relieved Vitek Vanecek of his duties after the 5-1 loss in game 2. Since then, Samsonov has been playing his most consistent hockey of the year and seems to be playing with a lot of confidence.
  • Continue to limit the rush- The Caps Blue Liners have done outstanding to limit odd-man rushes this series so far. If they slip up on that front or start getting caught up too much, the Panthers will attack with pace and punish them.
  • Finish the chances- there have been several times throughout this series now, either through lack of focus or bad luck, that the Caps have missed fantastic, high danger chances. If they can bury goals on Bobrovsky, they’ll continue to run away with it.
  • Stay Calm and Focused- Perhaps the biggest point here is to just keep playing Capitals Hockey. It’s a 2-2 series and the Capitals have shown they have all the power to knock out Florida. Game 4’s Overtime loss could have been avoided, but it’s happened and now they need to move on. Everyone on that roster knows their talents and if they remain calm and confident, they can knock out the Cats.

The Capitals are heading back to Miami to face the Panthers in what’s sure to be a loud game 5 away from home. If the Capitals can steal a win in this next game, they set themselves up in a fantastic position to close out on home ice.

Our Game 5 Predictions:

Jamie- 4-2 Capitals Victory

Zac- 3-2 Capitals Victory

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The importance of budgeting and managing finances in youth-sports programs

All league administrators should have a budget in place before taking a single registration. The budget should estimate revenue and expenses and separate them as individual line items. Estimate revenue low and expenses high in order to provide for some margin of error. Once the budget is set, keep the spending within the budget unless there is additional revenue that might justify additional spending.

A budget serves as all of the following:

  • Operations guide: A budget will dictate how to operate a league based on anticipated revenue and expenses. It will explain how the organization is divided by roles and how they operate.
  • Financial plan: Sound budgeting will keep finances in order and identify any areas where you can fine-tune spending or save money. It should show sources of revenue and allocated expenses.
  • Communications device: A budget provides an understanding for others in a league or the overall organization as to the forecasted revenue and the plan to allocate funds for expenses. It helps stakeholders understand why only certain funds are used for certain expenses.

The purpose of a budget is to allocate resources to achieve financial goals and objectives. If a league or organization is large enough to be separated into departments, each department will have its own budget with the total contributions to the organization’s annual operating budget. A budget should be divided into line items that reflect every aspect of an operation:

  • Staffing and referees
  • Rent/lease/ownership expenses
  • Operating supplies
  • Jerseys and uniforms
  • Equipment
  • Awards
  • Concessions
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Marketing/promotion
  • Background screening
  • Facility improvements
  • Training
  • Insurance.

Budget categories are based on the league’s operation and should be flexible and monitored regularly. Here are five ways to manage a budget and finances:

Breakeven: Find the breakeven point to determine how much revenue you have to bring in to sustain the league. If the only source of revenue is participant registrations, then simply figure out how many participants are needed to run the program. If you have significant revenue in sponsorships, concession sales, etc., include that so you are not dependent on participation alone.

Cost recovery: Similar to the breakeven, cost recovery goes one step further and shows exactly how the total expenses were recovered, based on the revenue brought in. To determine cost recovery, separate all revenue and all expenses. Then divide the total revenue by the total expenses. Hundred-percent cost recovery means you broke even. Anything higher than that means the league made money. Anything less means it lost money and will need to subsidize losses with additional revenue sources.

Expense tracker: Track every league expense to the penny. It can be as simple as entering items onto a spreadsheet. This will help keep track of all funds and ensure you stay within the budget. If you control the league’s bank account, you can reconcile expenses to the account. Tracking expenses will also force you to fine-tune spending and identify places to save money when needed.

Cash-handling: Anytime you are taking in cash, or managing any finances for that matter, more than one person should be involved for accountability and for checks and balances. Decide who is allowed to take cash, determine how it is to be counted, and decide where it goes. If possible, consider going “cash free,” or work toward it.

Contingency: Contingency is more for those who have complete control over league funds, such as a non-profit Little League or Pop Warner team. A larger organization, such as a government agency or larger YMCA association, generally will not have control of this at the league level as they have their own finance departments. If yours is a smaller operation, always have some type of contingency or savings fund. Take a small portion of each registration and put it in a contingency. If things go south or there’s an unexpected expense, it can be handled without being detrimental to the program. As this fund increases, you can also use it for items like scholarships or capital improvements.

All youth sports programs, regardless of the size of the organization, should have some level of budgeting and financial management. Having a plan to manage finances will ensure you can run a viable program.

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Understanding Youth Sports: Risk Management

Risk Management is never fun. It can be long, time-consuming, and tedious. But, it is 100% essential. Risk Management is something that can save lives and is a key part of preventing serious injuries. Risk Management also plays a key role in league and team operations. Failure to complete these steps can result in serious financial loss and even shut down entire leagues. While at the time it may not seem all that important when you’re trying to card players, get rosters and schedules set, etc. Having you and your staff complete Risk Management is essential.

There are several key steps and tips to assure your Risk Management and help mitigate risks.

1.     Have the proper insurances and liability waivers in place to protect staff members, volunteers, the facility, and the participants.

2.     Have all other administrative aspects of a program in order, including managing finances, forms, contracts, etc., and ensure that these documents are handled and reviewed by multiple people in the organization for proper accountability and “checks and balances.”

3.     Do routine, documented facility and equipment inspections to identify liabilities and hazards. For example, inspect and survey a play space to make sure it is safe before participants arrive, and make sure it stays safe while participants are in the area. If a potential liability or hazard is found, fix it immediately. If you cannot fix it, secure the area with proper signage so no one can approach it.

4.     Ensure all equipment provided (to teams and participants) is safe. Provide safety equipment when needed and inspect equipment before all games.

5.     Train staff members, coaches, managers, and volunteers properly on all aspects of a league, and provide applicable training and certifications, such as concussion training, first aid, and CPR.

6.     Promote and monitor hydration and healthy eating. Information can be included in parent packets, orientations, and coaches’ meetings. On game days, look for signs of dehydration and fatigue.

7.     Have a contingency plan. What can go wrong will go wrong, so always have a backup plan.

8.     Have an emergency-action plan. Train for risk scenarios so staff members are prepared to handle any situation.

9.     Have adequate adult supervision on game days that includes staff members or league volunteers.

10.   Have written policies in place to strictly prohibit drugs, alcohol, tobacco, excessive weight loss or weight gain, and any illegal substances. Monitor signs of substance abuse by any coach, parent, or participant throughout the season, and have a process in place to report such abuse.

A common practice is to follow the 10 Ps of risk management.  

1.     Policy. Have proper policies in place to protect the safety of staff members, volunteers, participants, and facilities, and know what to do when an incident occurs.

2.     Planning. Training for incidents will better prepare staff members when an incident occurs. Have emergency-action plans in place for any type of league or program.

3.     Product or service. Understand the potential risks that may occur, based on the service offered. Knowing and understanding the types of risks that can occur helps to be more prepared to prevent an incident or handle an incident when it occurs.

4.     Process. Make sure controls are in place to reduce risk and ensure staff members are trained or qualified to handle them.

5.     Premises. Consider the size and layout of facilities and the risks that may occur. Know how much it costs to repair and maintain the facilities.

7.     Protection. This is much broader than merely protecting people from health and safety risks; it includes identifying risks associated with protecting people, premises, equipment, and the surrounding environment. Once the associated risks are identified, it is imperative to have the proper insurance coverages and waivers in place to protect your most valuable assets.

8.     Procedures. Be sure to have proper procedures in place if an incident does occur.

9.     Purchasing. Have policies in place to control costs, create contingency funds, and purchase quality equipment that will not pose a hazard to participants.

10.   Performance. Evaluate a league regularly to ensure you are following the risk-management guidelines that are in place. If incidents do occur, evaluate them and devise a plan to prevent future incidents.

Remember, don’t lack in your Risk Management. It’s not just about your club’s financials, but the health and safety of families.


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Club Announcement- Cardinal Elite Lacrosse

Sports Office 365 is very excited to announce our most recent partnership, Cardinal Elite Lacrosse!

Cardinal Elite Lacrosse Club is based out of Louisville KY. A newer club consisting of middle school and high school students offers kids an opportunity to develop as lacrosse players and as individuals.

We’re excited to work with Cardinal Elite and their staff!

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How to Efficiently Manage Hotel Bookings

Booking and managing all of the hotel rooms for your team or club may seem like a terrifying and pressure-filled process. As long as you keep on top of everything, it’s a fairly easy process!

Timing

One of the most important aspects of this entire process may not be something you would have thought of; it’s all about timing. Timing plays a huge factor throughout this entire process, and once you understand that, the easier your job will be. Booking hotels for tournaments is not something you want to do one month or a few weeks before an event. This needs to be handled and planned out months ahead of time. Booking agencies tend to coordinate with tournaments long in advance to prepare their hotels for the event. Waiting until months after they are released will leave you with little to no options. Preparing months in advance and getting your dates straight is even more important for lacrosse clubs participating in Stay-to-Play events.

Organization

Keeping everything organized and filed correctly will save you a lot of headaches and frustration. An up-to-date spreadsheet outlining events, dates, locations, teams, and everything else will help you easily identify and stay on top of everything. Take an ample amount of time weeks before the season starts to get as much information as possible laid out in front of you. Once you have everything set up and organized, it’s on to the next step.

Finding a Plan

Going into the hotel booking process blind or without a plan will lead to failure. When trying to get a large number of rooms or blocks, you need to know dates, timelines, and how everything works. Take time before the season to learn who will be the hotel booking agency, find out release dates, and know when you need to book. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the booking agencies directly. A lot of times they can provide you with the information you’re looking for, including release dates.

Managing and Tracking

Once you got everything straight, blocks reserved, and deadlines marked; you aren’t in the clear yet. There are two more big steps to ensure you, and your parents have the easiest process.

First, be sure to track those expiration deadlines. When using a booking agency, block reservations are only held for a short time. After about 1-2 weeks, most blocks will be released back to the public. This is not always the case, some tournaments and agencies give you a long window. But, be sure to note when that deadline is. You can always reach out and attempt to get extensions, but this is not always guaranteed. Some agencies have restrictions on their extensions or don’t offer them at all. Tracking those dates as well as how many rooms your parent’s book is important for moving forward in the process.

Secondly, is distributing those booking links and information. Once you reserve a block, you’ll receive a confirmation with all the necessary information for parents to book. Getting this information out to them can vary based on the club. Some prefer to post on their team pages like Teamsnap or LeagueApps. Others would prefer to post it on the website. Whichever option you chose, be sure to fully post all relevant information and have parents book as soon as possible.

Coach Rooms

When it comes to reserving coach’s rooms, most clubs like to give their staff a different option so they aren’t staying with all the teams and players. That’s not something required, you can always have coaches pull rooms from the reserved blocks. If you decide to have them stay elsewhere, the best thing to do is make sure you reserve with free cancellation. Booking months out and getting the cheaper non-flexible rate may seem great at the time, but you never know what could come up in the future. Booking the flex rate is going to be your best option, just be sure to set reminders to cancel ahead of time if needed.

As the season approaches and parents are all booked up, your job should be relatively complete. It will then just turn into a maintenance role. Helping parents with one-off rooms, and troubleshooting issues as they appear. The whole process may seem very daunting, but as long as you keep everything organized and marked, it’s a fairly easy process!

If you still feel that your hotel booking procedures are too much, Sports Office 365 are experts on the hotel booking process and can take that task off your hands!

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