Nelson Leafs in the black after last season

Record sales at the team's recycling centre helped it overcome loss in hockey revenue.

Leafs president John Dooley (left)

A tumultuous season on the ice didn’t hurt the Nelson Leafs’ bank account.

The Leafs recorded an actual earnings surplus of $19,186 for the 2015-16 season before depreciation, according to Gordon Davis’s treasurer’s report presented at the team’s annual general meeting Tuesday. The team’s cash flow surplus meanwhile was $17,068 compared to just $1,384 for the previous season.

Team president John Dooley was pleased with the report after a rocky season that included a coaching change in December and a first-round exit in the playoffs.

“We believe we took a very positive step forward in the second half of the season with our coaching staff moving our team in a new direction,” said Dooley. “We’re looking at controlling costs. We’re looking at making sure people understand what their commitment is when they come to play for the Nelson Leafs, to the team, to the community and to their education. We’ll stay on task for this coming season.

“It looks to me at this point in time as though we’ve sort of turned a corner here, but it will take us a year or two to get the ship righted.”

One reason for the Leafs’ good fortune was the success of the team’s recycling centre, which generated a net profit of $72,172 while gross revenue hit a record $308,146. That marks a sharp upturn for the recycling centre, which made only $63,253 the year prior.

Dooley said the team has started talks with the city about possibly leasing additional land nearby to expand the recycling centre’s services.

“We’re still in the early stages of that conversation but we wanted to make sure the community knew that that’s the direction we’re going. We believe there are further opportunities to divert product from the landfill and we believe we can be part of that solution.”

Hockey operations are the lone area where the Leafs faltered financially last season. Gate receipts remained essentially unchanged from the previous year, but season ticket revenue dropped $2,668 from 2015.

The Leafs’ advertising revenue also took a significant hit, falling $10,166 to just $36,960. That number has been on a steady decline since the Leafs recorded $62,772 in ad revenue in 2012. Dooley said he expects the board will take a closer look at the falling ad revenue.

There were also changes to the Leafs’ board of directors.

Davis declined to return to the team, ending his 21-year tenure with the Leafs. Vice president Randy Horswill also stepped aside with his term finished, while Tony Maida changed roles from secretary to VP. Maida was re-elected as president of the Nelson Minor Hockey Association earlier this month.

Karilynn Carr and Randy Craik were elected to the board by acclamation, while billeting director Gioconda Gordon and beverage director Lauretta Wilson were each re-elected.

The coaching staff also received some new titles.

Mario DiBella is now head coach and director of player personnel. Sean Dooley remains an assistant coach while taking over the general manager title. Isaac MacLeod meanwhile remains in an assistant coaching role.

DiBella told the meeting at the Nelson and District Community Complex that he’s visited six or seven camps with Sean Dooley so far in the off-season as the pair look to revamp their roster.

John Dooley said he thinks there will still be some growing pains as the team rebuilds from last season.

“Expectations are always high,” said Dooley. “But there’s a transition there from a different executive and a different direction from the coaching and management staff that sometimes it takes a little time for that to settle in. But we’re committed to the philosophy of the organization, we’re committed to the people who are in the organization that we believe is going to take a year or so to solidify that direction.”

(CORRECTION: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that Tony Maida had resigned from the Leafs.)

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