Monday, 27 August 2012

Hurricanes 2012 AGM: Team Reports $602,000 Loss

121 shareholders showed up at the Holiday Inn on Mayor Magrath Drive Monday night for the Lethbridge Hurricanes 2012 Annual General Meeting.

The big story of the night turned out to be the significant financial loss for the community-owned hockey club in the 2011-2012 WHL season.  The team's balance sheet shows a deficit of $602,284.  Lauralee Burton from Moriyama and Burton Chartered Accountants provided a breakdown of the financial statement for those in attendance.  One of the biggest loses was in ticket sales.  The club projected ticket sales last season at $1.5 million, but only brought in $984,000. When it comes to expenses last season, the Hurricanes actually came in under budget.

As for this new hockey season, the hockey club is projecting a loss this year (2012-2013) of $179,000. The AGM was told at this point, the club has sold 1500 season tickets, which is around the same mark as this same time last year, but the difference is this year's ticket sales are at full price, as opposed to 25% off last season.

A question was asked by a shareholder as to how close the hockey club is to actually being in bankruptcy. President Don Clark says the team has been working with City of Lethbridge the past few years regarding a lease for the ENMAX Centre, are currently in negotiations and expects things to be resolved by the end of the year regarding that. He says ENMAX Centre and the City are committed to the long term sustainability of the hockey club. Clark says the team is working with the City to come to an agreement that's workable for both parties. Clark noted the hockey club is trying to work with the City to potentially help cover some losses, but he wouldn't go into specifics. 

Club President Don Clark told me after the AGM, the financial loss is due to a variety of reasons, mainly because the team was unable to reach it's goal of selling 2500 season tickets at a discount price of 25% last year. Other factors include the play of the team on the ice as well as the ongoing renovations at the ENMAX Centre which are now complete heading into this upcoming season. Clark says the 25% off season ticket campaign never generated enough interested last year and never took off.  He says going forward there are no excuses.  The rink is complete with no renovations and now "it's on our backs".  Clark notes there is a lot of excitement going into this season.  As for the $179,000 projected loss for this upcoming season, Clark says the Board wants to be honest and straight up with shareholders going into 2012-2013. 

Several other reports were given from the current Board of Directors as well as from Head Coach and GM Rich Preston.

Preston gave his Hockey Operations report. He told shareholders the team is still looking for a couple of billet families for a few players, so anyone interested should contact the Hurricanes office.  Preston went over the past season saying to put it mildly it was "a rough start", but he's proud of the way they fought through adversity, which made this group a lot stronger. Preston feels that will help these players in the long run. He says this is the first year in the last four he can see a real turn in the players coming back to camp.  Preston said he's very optimistic going into this year. He says he's very excited to have acquired a top goaltender in Ty Rimmer in the off-season. Preston notes Rimmer has a great compete level which will be huge for the team. Preston reported Michael Sofillas has looked very good in the last few days after missing all of last season with a concussion and his fitness testing was "off the charts".  Preston says the players are very excited to be training and have camp at the ENMAX Centre for the first time in a long time after having to use Adam Ice Centre during the renovations.  He says the Hurricanes new dressing room and training facilities are as good as any in junior hockey.

Board of Directors Vote

Dick Gibson, Dave Gurr, Brian McNaughton, Nick Polychronopoulos, Doug Paisley, Dave Olson were announced a few weeks ago they would be running to fill the 6 vacant positions up for grabs on the Board of Directors.  5 other names were announced from the floor including former Lethbridge Mayor Bob Tarleck, as well as Gary Saloff, Pat Shimbashi, Keith Hitchcock, and Glen Bright. All 5 accepted to put their names forward.

After the voting was all said and done, the 6 new Board members elected or re-elected include the following:

Nick Polychronopoulos, Dick Gibson, Dave Olson, Pat Shimbashi, Doug Paisley, & Brian McNaughton. 

McNaughton was elected to a one year term while the other five have been elected to 3 year terms.

The New Board of Directors will elect a President at it's next meeting.



  1. We returned home from the AGM tonight filled with hope for the team but dread for the future. We believe the message is now loud and clear: if we want this team to be here beyond this season this city needs to step up and support it. If you quit buying season tickets because you were upset with the board or the on ice product consider buyng at least a game pack so you can come back and see what the young guys are all about. If you own a business consider advertising on the score clock or even buying some vouchers to give away. If you as a business appreciate the economic handprint the Hurricanes leave on this community it is time to support them. If you are sitting in front of your television on a Friday night, buy a single ticket and come watch a game. We are in serious danger of losing our team Lethbridge. It is time to decide if we care enough to do something about it.


  2. Give me a break. Same old story, we go to the meeting, get called out by the board that we the shareholders are not doing enough and the community isn't coming out so on and so fourth. What the board doesn't understand is it has successfully dismantled about 20 years of building in 7. They have alienated fans and the community to the point that people have just lost faith. To have the share holders vote in the same group of people with the exclusion of nick and Doug is mind boggling. The same crew that lost us over a million dollars over 5 seasons is back in and people think its going to change? I used to believe In public ownership, that made sure a team would always stay in town, but after tonight and the finances I really believe that the only way a team can survive is by private ownership. No one up there cared about losing more than half a million dollars tonight cause it's just not their money. Sad state of affairs.

  3. Further more shame on this current board who thinks that their saving grace is a transfer of money from the city due to lost revenue from the renos.. They messed up and now are looking to the taxpayers to help out. What do they think the city's going to do? Hand over 500 000 just cause.? I review the spending by the city and what is floating around in the bank and there isn't that much cash sitting just doing nothing. I'm phoning the alderman tomorrow and asking them to pull up this agreement to see just what it actually says. I'm betting it says nothing about repayment from the city and this is a way the board is trying to hide and place the blame on everyone but them. 602 000 lost in one season. Wow. Paying for past gm and coaches salaries due to firings, how the heck is that the fans fault. 14 loses in a row, how's that the fans fault. The fan can oly do so much. That's why we put the board in place to make sure a team can be ran properly. Not to become a old boys club, and if anyone wants to argue its not a old boys club tonight deinetly doesn't help our argument.

  4. How in the hell was a person elected to the Board when he was in charge of this sinking ship and oversaw the pathetic display of GM'ing by Roy Stasiuk?????? I was unable to attend the meeting thanks to my job, but I didn't expect to come home and read that our shareholders had put a person back on the Board who couldn't manage his own bank account!

    @cc.....I hope you didn't vote for the board member I reference above. Because that is the person who started us on this downward spiral. Hiring people who had NO BUSINESS being hired for the positions they were hired for during his term. I shudder to think of what he'll bring to the table this time! As Anonymous said, most of the same names voted back on who are responsible for the team's current sad state of affairs.

    I agree it would be nice for more people to take an interest in the Canes, but the past 5 has made it awfully tough to do so and that is in a large part to many of the names I read being reelected to the Board.

    Hopefully, Doug Paisley will be a new voice on the hockey side of things as well as the economic side.


  5. 1212I absolutely did not support the person you speak of and we are also bewildered by this choice. However my comments did not reference my opinion on how the team lost over $600000 last year alone nor the boards poor choices in hiring of certain staff members. My point was simply that it has happened and now this community needs to fight to keep this team (assuming they want it). After seeing the results of the election last night it would seem that we all like to complain about the board but we have no problem keeping them on. To expect different results without any real change is our mistake. All I know is we want the team here and we hope the community will band together to make that happen somehow.

  6. For the first time in the Preston era the organization has exceeded my expectations. I predicted $400K.

    Please don't blame this on the fans.
    If you own a business and customers are not coming in or are unhappy with your product or service it is not their problem, it is yours. Basic business philosophy folks. If Apple makes a bad computer and it does not sell blame the computer, not the consumer.
    Blindly supporting a team does not bring success. Look at the Maple Leafs. Fans blindly support them and they get what they deserve. The check and balance for a hockey team is ticket sales. The canes have to realize that they need to change the way they do business.
    Same music every game. Same video segments. If I have to celebrate to clap your hands one more time I may wish for shutouts. Al Jolson and Cab Calloway even think that this is a little dated and out of touch.
    Nothing has changed from the in game experience to the team on the ice the past 4 seasons. There seems to be a huge dose of complacency within the organization. I guess when nobody is financially accountable those are the results you will get.

    I am encouraging all fans to bring rubber rats to the home opener against Med Hat. Would be hilarious if the team pulled off a promotion like that. If you can't be good (coaches have admitted that this year will be a struggle) might as well be entertaining.


  7. This is a joke. Private ownership please...

  8. Give it a year. With another estimate of 180 000 coming, which probably will turn out into around 250 000 to 300 000 when everything is said and done (let's not forget that last year they reported a estimate of 98 000 lost and that turned into 602 000) The team will have no money left, this isn't a opinion this is fact. They will not be able to afford the fixed costs the board has built through staff and ad/promos ect. Let alone the fixed costs of travel and equipment. The cash flow will not be there, what a shame that the only option will be to sell the team for a deflated price. I'm not opposed to selling the team as long as it stays in lethbridge, but lets sell it on a high, not a low. This board seriously thinks they have done nothing wrong and say their hearts are in the right place and are trying to do the right thing. Like my dad always said though, the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.

  9. ANON 10:49....keep in mind that a selling price (should that day ever come) will be set by the WHL, not the board or shareholders of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. I believe that the last sale of a club or expansion, the price tag was set at 7 million. I highly doubt that the WHL will let this franchise go for less than that.

    As mentioned last night, expenses have not increased over the last couple of seasons. The biggest problem is the reduction of revenues in all forms of advertising, and in ticket sales. Season tickets, paks and walkups.

    In this city, the only thing that will improve that is a winning club and one that has a solid grip on a playoff spot come February.

    Even with a winner, this city does not fill the building. When we lost to Spokane in the finals there were a lot of empty seats.It was not a sellout! The following year, we averaged 2500 for our home playoff games.

    I was half expecting the question of selling the team to come up at the shareholder meeting last night. I was somewhat suprised it did not. But obviously this issue is not dead.

    Here's hoping that the kids get off to a good start and they can build on that.

    As for the "rats for the Hat", yah it would be a hoot, but I could just imagine the uproar in this city, if the shoe was on the other foot.


  10. Lets break this down, the season was only 7 months long as there were no play offs, they essentially lost $85000 a month. How on earth does this happen? I guess in selling off the used equipment they were trying to recover some of this loss.

    They must have one awful lease agreement in terms of rent, concessions, alcohol, etc... and as previously mentioned, the entertainment value is awful. From the music to the intermission garbadge and in house promotions, nothing has changed for years.

  11. Was a question asked about how much money is left? I heard that Ron S was approached for 500k last January to cover costs till the end of the year.

  12. ANON...3:29. Without coming across as sarcastic, have you ever written in, phoned in suggestions for new ideas for the between period intermissions? The Hurricanes now have a new business manager, who might be open to suggestions.

    As for the lease agreement, as mentioned last night, it is still under construction. But, the Hurricanes do not get one thin dime from the concessions, the beer, etc.

    For those wondering about private ownership, remember back to 1986 when the moving vans packed off the Broncos to Swift Current. Why, because the fans did not show up for their last two seasons. After winning the WHL Championship in 1983, the Broncos put back to back losing seasons, which resulted in the horrible attendance drop. Fans deserted the Broncos, the local owner was losing money, no other local owner wanted to buy the team because of the lack of support which led to the departure of the Broncos.

    I also recall when the Lethbridge Dodgers had a great team and Henderson Stadium was packed. Standing room only, all the way to the Pioneer League Championship. The next season the LA Dodgers did not send many top notch players and the club had a horrible season.....guess what, you could not give tickets away.

    Theme seems to be, win and the fans will support you, lose and they are gone.