The Fusion Eastern Prescott Russell Minor Hockey Association (EPRMHA) is in desperate need of volunteers, after the bulk of the organization’s executive resigned at the groups Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week.

“ We just had an AGM and the whole board resigned, so we have seven empty spots,” said EPRMHA interim president Pina Velocci, who added that finding replacements is critical to the organization’s survival. “We may have to fold EPR Fusion minor hockey if we can’t find more volunteers.”

Fusion league players come from both the Hawkesbury and Vankleek Hill areas, playing out of the arenas in each community. The league normally has more than 200 players, but membership was lower during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 192 players participating in 2021-2022.

Velocci said the resignations did not come from any dissatisfaction with the organization, but was due to the fact that many board members have been serving for a long time with the EPRMHA, despite no longer having children playing minor hockey. Many have remained with Fusion hockey as long as they have because no new volunteers stepped forward.

“They’ve done the time and their kids are all older,” Velocci explained of the longtime volunteers who are stepping aside. “The problem is the newer parents with young kids are not stepping up.”

The EPRMHA’s interim president noted her own children are no longer in minor hockey, however she has chosen to remain on the executive – as have many other members – out of fear the league would cease to operate. Velocci said the EPRMHA AGM was barely able to form a quorum to continue at last week’s meeting, but she was able to convince one person who had submitted their resignation to remain with the league until replacements can be found.

“We needed at least seven people to make up the board, or we would have had to shut down,” she said.

The EPRMHA is actively recruiting new members to help out with activities at the Hawkesbury and Vankleek Hill arenas. Anyone who wishes to help out can contact Velucci by email at [email protected]. More information can also be found on the EPRMHA Fusion website

While it can require a lot of hard work, volunteering with Fusion hockey is also very rewarding.

“I’ve been in charge of tournaments for the last 13 years with the organization – I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t enjoy it,” Velocci commented. “I love watching the kids enjoying themselves.”