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August 30, 2013

Youth hockey league repaying debt to School Department

METHUEN — A youth hockey program that failed to pay the School Department about $7,000 for ice time at the high school rink is now working to settle the debt after reorganizing.

The Methuen Youth Hockey Association has paid more than half of that balance, hockey and school officials said, and the remainder will be paid in the next couple of months.

“It was brought to our attention by the previous (youth hockey) committee, that they did not have enough funds to cover the last three months of ice time,” said Schools Superintendent Judith Scannell.

Scannell and Peter Marino, president of the Methuen Youth Hockey Association, said the association’s board of trustees saw a nearly complete turnover last spring.

“When I took over, they said there was an outstanding balance,” Marino said. “Once we took over May 1, we set up a meeting right away. ... That’s when it was brought to our attention, and we worked it out.”

Scannell said the organization did not have enough money in its budget to cover ice time, which included practice and games, in March, April and May this year.

The new board is watching expenses and making sure the budget will cover all the ice time that will be needed this season, Marino said. The remainder of the outstanding balance, a little more than $1,000, will be paid in October at the latest, he said.

Scannell said she did not want repayment to cripple the program and offered to give the organization time. “They are excellent clients. The reason we have the ice rink is for the kids, and the little ones build our high school program. It’s really a partnership and we want to make this work.”

Methuen Youth Hockey is a nonprofit organization that teaches skating and hockey skills, provides ice and hockey-related recreational activities and organizes competitive teams for young people.

Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser.

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