Local Hero: Jim Ranahan of the Centre-Wellington Ball Hockey Club
Jim Ranahan believes that official or not, hockey is Canada’s sport. For many Canadians, not only is it a beloved sport, it is a passion. Since moving from the big city 17 years ago, the Ranahans have been proud to call Elora their home. They are actively involved in the community, striving to ensure that Elora is a place where people want to live. They love the tight knit community and want others to share in their experiences.
Three years ago, Jim noticed a growing need in his beloved community. After a lifetime of playing hockey, and countless years supporting his sons through their own athletic careers, Jim realized that hockey had become an elite sport. Jim pointed out that “competitive teams can cost families upwards of $12,000 a season, and even the cost of house league teams are around $500.” He also noticed that children were spending more and more time inside in front of a screen instead of being active outside. Elora is a diverse community and Jim knew that there were children who were being robbed of the chance to play hockey for financial reasons. He also knew that there were children who were intimidated by the skill level necessary to play.
To make his favourite sport accessible to everyone, Jim wanted to create a game that at its core was still hockey, but removed all the barriers to playing. The most prominent of these barriers were skill and specialized equipment. Remembering the hours spent as a child playing ball hockey with his friends, Jim knew that this was the answer. Ball hockey would remove the barriers to his favourite sport and help children in the community become more active.
Since Centre-Wellington Ball Hockey Club launched in 2012, their club membership has grown rapidly. Today, there are 1500 members from Elora and nearby communities including Mount Forest, Waterloo, and Georgetown. “I believe that this popularity is due, in part, to the fact that there is nothing like it around,” argues Jim. The club gives the community an opportunity to play a game they know and love in a professionally built, and safe environment. Ball hockey is also an inexpensive way to stay active, with a seasonal fee of $150 per player. As membership numbers continue to grow, Jim believes they are well on their way of achieving their goals of helping kids be more active and making hockey accessible to everyone.
The Centre-Wellington Ball Hockey Club is a great addition to the Elora community, however, without insurance coverage this facility would not be accessible. Many business owners find the process of insuring a large business like the ball hockey club daunting. Simply happy to have the process over, it’s easy to just stick with the first supplier you work with.
When the Ranahans were approached by Jim Hitchcock from the Ostic Group about insuring the club, they were hesitant to undergo the process of changing providers. Jim Hitchcock, however, was persistent as he believed that he could help them with their insurance coverage. The Ranahans already used the Ostic Group for their home and cottage, but they had no idea they did commercial insurance as well. They agreed to have Jim Hitchcock look over their current coverage and were happy to hear that by switching to the Ostic Group, they could save money and receive better coverage. By switching insurance providers, Jim and his family could reinvest the money saved into the club to better support the community they love.
Jim Ranahan is a Local Hero.
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