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We have just concluded our first year as a Board and though we have undoubtedly known some success, it would be difficult to call the year successful. We had one fund-raising event which brought in $3000 but was basically a piggyback on the 50th Anniversary. The Foundation Brunch was a success, but was only attended by two members of this Board.

Poor attendance led to the cancellation and postponement of many meetings, and hence the delay of several projects, chief among them, the creation and operation our website, the launch of our membership drive, and the preparation of our next fund-raiser. The raising and distribution of funds is our only raison d’être, and as such while I cannot call the year a success, it is hardly a failure. Our path forward has encountered some obstacles, and we may have stumbled over a couple of them, the reality is that we are still here and we can now rectify out course and move forward.

I have had a change of heart a couple of issues which were hotly debated last year, most importantly the involvement of our school Principal M. Collin Thomas. All the reasons for my earlier position on the matter notwithstanding, the simple reality is that we need the school apparatus at this time if we hope to achieve any significant forward movement in my opinion. My reticence about M. Thomas has been appeased, and it will be the job of this body to ensure that the legal standard for an arm’s length relationship between the school and the Foundation is met. By making the seat advisory and observatory and non-voting, I believe we have set the proper markers to allow this Board to maintain some distance while at the same time, working toward the greater aims and needs of Billings ECA’s and school life. I have extended an invitation to Tina Truffa and Lori Biernat to join this board for reasons that we will discuss in further detail later if you wish, but not to put too fine a point on it, they have the drive, the time and the motivation to help both the operation and the credibility of this Board in the Alumni community at large. I urge you to welcome them with open arms and hearts. I have accepted the resignation of Board member Erik Hylland and thank him for his input over the last year. Erik has indicated that he would like to work with us on an ad-hoc basis for events or activities we organize as needed. Erik will not be seeking re-election onto the Board.

The state of Hockey Alumni’s association to this Board is in a state of flux, and Leigh Sawyer will be asked to speak to that in more detail later, but suffice it to say, that I will expect all of us and chiefly M. Thomas, to ensure that there are no cracks in this Foundation, as it is in my opinion the best and in fact only vehicle to create and maintain the synergy necessary among Alumni to help our school.

I hereby also announce that I was asked by some of you to stay on as President for one more year, and after much thought, I have decided to retain the post if the Board chooses to have me at the helm until the 2018-2019 AGM, where my post will be further legitimized by a larger number of members than the few around this table.

Thank you for your attention, and now to the order of business.

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