Lots of questions at Thursday night's Mid-Season Hurricanes Shareholders Information Meeting.
A crowd, much bigger than the one at last fall's Annual General Meeting gathered upstairs in the lounge at the ENMAX Centre to hear President Brian McNaughton, Business Manager Terry Huisman, GM Brad Robson, and Head Coach Drake Berehowsky speak about this current WHL season.
As expected shareholders wanted answers to a number of things ranging from the current state of finances to the coaching staff. Brian McNaughton stated, "This is not a re-build, but a re-set of our organization. This has been tough on the board, but for the most part our board has
stuck together and we're confident we have the right people in place." He said restructuring of the Hurricanes lease with the ENMAX Centre will likely be done in 3-4 weeks. Regarding finances, McNaughton said the team secured a line of credit with Servus Credit Union. "We are not over budget. We are just short cash." He said the team's current total operating debt is at $100,000, but feels they can't get close to break even by the end of the season. "I feel extremely confident we're going in the right direction. I feel as good about the team now as I have in the last 5 years." You can listen to the full media scrum with Brian McNaughton below.
Business Manager Terry Huisman said attendance at Hurricanes games this year is down 12%, but the club has made up revenue in other areas like in merchandise sales and cutting down on expenses. He says the Hurricanes are trending an average of 660 fans less per game from last season. "That impacts our bottom line significantly. We have run into cash flow issues. Working with banks to secure that. Our debt has not increased."
General Manager Brad Robson had plenty say as well. He talked about the direction the club is heading in and about some of the things which have gone on this season. "This has been frustrating. It hasn't been easy. There's been a lot of sleepless nights. We're doing our best." Robson was also asked about why Assistant Coach Brad Lukowich hasn't been around. He said Lukowich is not sick and is fine. But that it was a "personnel matter" and would not be discussing it in the public. You can here more of the media's interview with Robson below.
Head Coach Drake Berehowsky spoke passionately about the kind of year it's been. "We've begun changing the character. I know it's been frustrating. It's a process that takes time."
Some shareholders brought up the fact that perhaps it was time to consider selling the club. McNaughton stated: "There's never been a (purchase) offer presented to the board of the Lethbridge Hurricanes." He also mentioned that Kris Versteeg never approached the Board of Directors. McNaughton also said the WHL picks its owners and locations for it teams.