Friday, 27 March 2015

Canes Getting Set For Info Session

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are holding a public information session Monday night, March 30th in the Lounge at the ENMAX Centre.

Unlike a shareholders meeting, this one is open to anyone wanting to attend. It starts at 7:00 pm. I spoke with Board President Doug Paisley this week about the info session to get an idea of what will be discussed.

You can listen to the whole interview below.


  1. They want this meeting to sell the community owned model is what I took from this interview. A BOD should not be either pro or anti private ownership. I'm predicting fear mongering when it comes to a private owner on how the team will move and the sky will fall. It is not the boards job to defend the model. They are there to represent the shareholders, not a cola company or any other entities that benefit from an ownership model that is not concerned with the bottom line. Private ownership would be a serious threat to the nepotism that has plagued this organization for years now. Seems like they want to try and sway public opinion before the vote takes place. This makes sense as to why the vote was not held when the commish wanted it to be. It is concerning that Mr. Paisley did not address the commissioners suggestions at all leaving fans to wonder why the BOD ignored the top dogs recommendation. I'm guessing that the stock answer to most concerns will be that this is a public meeting and they can not disclose information. They won't even disclose information (eg. the mystery angel investor from last season, what relation the logo designer had to the BOD etc.) to shareholders, so I am not expecting much other than pro community owned propaganda given it is open to the public. I'm guessing there will be a lot of "we are headed in the right direction" talk, ignoring the fact that we were at the bottom of the CHL yet again. Should be an interesting night.


    1. PART 1:

      Please let me address a portion of your comments as I believe that you have been grossly misled regarding the 'logo' situation. The branding initiative was launched in the fall of 2013 shortly after the club received a memo from the NHL and the Washington Capitals regarding our logo and how similar it looked to the Caps logo and that we needed to address the issue right away. As a board we immediately created a branding sub-committee which included myself and a few others. The reason why I was asked to join the sub-committee was because it was known that my brother, Chris Polychronopoulos, worked for AKQA which is based out of NYC.
      Chris is a Creative Director and Brand Strategist for AKQA and he consults with and advises top Fortune 100 companies. For those that are unfamiliar with AKQA, it is THE most awarded digital marketing agency on the planet.

      Local you ask? Chris, like myself, was born and raised in Lethbridge, went to school here, graduated from Winston Churchill High School, attended the University of Lethbridge and went on to enjoy success and has great passion for his career. Through it all we have always given credit to the city and the community for all of the opportunity it has provided us. With the support of our parents this community has served as a launching pad for our not only our careers but our characters. It is no secret that as a community Lethbridge is well known for hard work and nothing less!

      Within the history of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, we have experienced very little authenticity, our original jerseys came from the old Billings Bighorns jersey design, we have used the likes of a form of the Tasmanian Devil, "Hawker" Hurricane (Hawker is still an operating company by the way) and the latest was the Washington Capital malaise. Chris pointed out that it was critical that we need to look at the brand not only from the visual standpoint but from a positioning point of view; meaning 'how will the Hurricanes have a genuine, authentic, meaningful brand and message that we can all be proud of, one that has value'. This due diligence process is usually completed over 1-2 years, we had mere months or we risked a lawsuit.

    2. PART 2:

      We were faced with the task of crafting an original identity that was true to who the brand, and the people/players/fans and city are. We needed to communicate that message in a compelling way. In facing this task we had to simplify our brand with maximum identification, recognition and applicability. We studied some of the most successful and storied franchises in the NHL; many of those used stylized letters. Many of the submissions (and we accepted many independent ones) used stylized H's believe it or not. Chris submitted his proposal along with many others and he was selected by a proper vote.

      The branding committee, with Chris’s guidance, quickly began brand identity due diligence meetings which entailed discussions that tackled topics such as defining our customers' most passionate concerns, market identification and brand evolution, the brand’s story & organization history, realizing that a 'brand is not a logo', applicability (bringing our brand to life, simplifying and communicating our story in ways that provide meaning, motivation and positivity). Figuring out which brand investments will bring the greatest return & ultimately attempting to define 'what does the new Hurricane brand believe in?'. Taking this question into consideration, I took the initiative and called Lethbridge Minor Hockey and proposed a non-monetary partnership for our brand (a link to our most related market if you will). The outcome is that a large percentage of Lethbridge Minor Hockey teams now carry the new Lethbridge Hurricanes logo - and it is very recognizable. There is no doubt when you look at an H-Thrash jersey and the face of the child wearing it that there is a great amount of pride present in that child’s being. I know that our current branding committee is committed to ensure that this relationship grows.

      Chris was paid somewhere in the range of about $18K USD's for this branding exercise, he did it in his spare time mainly because I asked him for a huge favour. He has stated many times that he also did it because as a kid he grew up watching the Lethbridge Hurricanes and this was a great opportunity to tap into his resources and for him to come full circle and to give back.
      In order to outsource this task to someone like Chris it would have easily costed the Hurricanes’ organization at least $150K and it would have never have been completed in under 3 months. In the deal we were also provided with a very structured Style Guide and the strategic marketing positioning platform which was the Passion for Hockey Strategy which is now being used for the messaging - That alone runs at about $40K-$50K and for us it costed $0. So let’s do the math on this, $150K + $40K = $190K less $18K = Savings of approx. $172,000. The number that was given at the AGM last season was $80,000. You must realize that number included $62,000 worth of implementation cost (i.e. jerseys, work-out wear, arena signage, stickers, new letterheads, web logo’s, ice logo’s, registration of marketing material both digital and paper etc.). I realize that this is a lot to absorb but it was a huge process in a very short amount of time.

      In THE HOCKEY NEWS, Ryan Kennedy, in his October 2013 article Jersey Hound, loved the logo and gave it a very solid review saying this about the H-Thrash logo: "it works. The new logo is unique and conveys wind without looking messy."

    3. PART 3:

      As a board member I felt that it was my duty to provide access to this resource and never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be criticized for helping the organization that I value so much, especially in a time of crisis with the possibility of pending legal action. My actions are all anchored by the belief that I think it is very important for Lethbridge to maintain a Major Junior Hockey Team.
      Whether it is privately or community owned only time will tell as it is up to the shareholders to decide. One thing that is foresure is that hockey is a very important component to the fabric of the City of Lethbridge. As a board member I realize that we are now facing a huge challenge. I believe in this group that we currently have representing the shareholders (BOD) and I know that their will is very strong.

      Life after hockey is a reality for me now and I wish the same experiences for my kids as both my brother and I had growing up watching and cheering for the Lethbridge Broncos and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. For myself, it was surreal proudly dawning the jersey & playing for The Lethbridge Hurricanes as I so loved going to the games watching my heroes battle. The likes of Ron & Rich Sutter, Troy Loney, Gord Tait, Gerald Diduck, Dwight Mullins, Kenny Wregget and foresure the likes of my next-door neighbor Joe Meli who gave me my very first wooden hockey stick when I was just 5-years old. Coming up through the ranks of Lethbridge Minor Hockey, from the Val Matteotti Golden Hawks to the AAA Midgets and ultimately the WHL, there was no greater motivation than watching the Lethbridge Hurricanes play and wanting to be like them. Both my brother and I agree that if you have had the fortune in life of achieving great success that you should ultimately give back to your community.

      I am sure you would agree.

      Best regards,
      Nick Polychronopoulos

      1. Husband & Father of 2 boys
      2. Vice President, Investment Advisor @ CIBC Wood Gundy
      3. Lethbridge Hurricanes Board Member
      4. Lethbridge Hurricanes Alumnus, LW #22

      P.S. it would be nice if people would post their real identities in order to offer up integrity to your comments and concerns.

    4. Hi, this is Sku the original poster.
      Mr. Polychronopoulos, a sincere thank you for your reply. Your time and attention is truly appreciated. Thank you for the explanation. I commend you for explaining the situation and handling it professionally. When a situation like the logo redesign comes up where there is an obvious conflict of interest a detailed explanation is needed. My frustration was due to the fact that the issue was tiptoed around at the AGM, when all in attendance knew the answer. Most just wanted an acknowledgement that the contract went to a family member of BOD member with a valid explanation, as you have given. If this were a privately owned team the owner could pick whoever they want. But since this team is publicly owned, any substantial contracts handed out should have a valid explanation as to why company X was given the contract. If your honesty and accountability was used at the time of the AGM a lot of rumours and doubt within the shareholders would have been alleviated. All I want from the BOD is honesty and accountability. You stepped up and took responsibly for the situation and I thank you for that. My post was never meant to be a personal attack on you or your brothers work, cost or professionalism. My concern was with the transparency of the organization. I have gained a lot of respect for you in addressing the situation, giving an explanation that satisfies my concerns. Issue resolved in my mind.

      On a side note we have more in common than I could have expected.
      1 wife, 2 boys and I was next door neighbours with Joe Meli for the first 17 years of my life. 3805 was the house number if you have your doubts. Just a funny coincidence. Anyways thank you for your work with the team and taking the time to address a concern which I never anticipated getting a response.

      Craig Paskuski

  2. Sounds more like a new shareholder fundraising drive. By opening up to those who are not shareholders, they get to keep away from the tough questions from the shareholders about finances until next AGM. Same dog and pony show we have seen from the past, just a different way to avoid it.
    Same old!

    1. Mid-season information sessions have until this year been held for the last several years in mid season. They certainly are not a guaranteed must do requirement by the club. Prior to 2010 they were not held on a consistent basis. I would presume that it is late this year due to the struggles with the team and the gate. You continue to fail to understand that the club is a legal entity and must comply with the rules of Alberta Registries (for starters). Think Royal Bank. Does it open up its meetings to the general public (allowing TD to come and glean info and ask questions), doubtful. If it is a shareholder drive, bring your cheque book and add to the cause. Attend a shareholders meeting, have one of your buddies nominate you from the floor, and get elected. Your input would be much more beneficial from being on the board than being on the concourse. Listen to what the President above says and run it by your lawyer. Nothing sinister here.

    2. Buy a share, have a buddy elect you and help run a 8 million dollar hockey team. That is why this community run team will never succeed. So all you need to do is buy a share get elected and you are qualified? Wow. If i buy two shares can i ellect myself to coach.

    3. So what do you suggest. Get a lawyer and change the articles if this pisses you off so much. Your inference is that the board members, many of whom run multi-million dollar companies are incompetent. Your inference that the 2 or 3 accountants on the board are incompetent and that the auditing firm is incompetent. So if you can do better, get yourself elected and don't use some dumb ass excuse about the legal election of board members by the shareholders. If you have anything nefarious, go to the cops, otherwise, stfu. Tired of being a past board member being accused of being incompetent. You are obviously clueless to the actual workings of the organization or just some troll mouthing off. Try it you will find out just how easy it is appeasing the likes of you. Bring your CV and join the club and do better. I know, I know I paid my 100 bucks so I own a hockey team. You are entitled to your opinion but your opinion is just that, your opinion.

  3. Well under the law they are only required to hold an annual general meeting. You have forgotten that for several years there was not a mid season meeting. I think the last mid season information meeting drew a humongous crowd of 30 people.

    1. That is incorrect. Last year's midseason info meeting drew a full house of (angry) shareholders. The place was full.


    2. My inference was that the mid season info meeting is generally a crap shoot. Some well attended and others not. I personally attended two where the crowd was 40 or less. Last year was an anomaly

  4. While not related to the topic on this thread, I thought this was just too funny not to post this on Pat's blog. A few days ago someone by the name of *Irene Y* posted this on Dustin Forbes’ blog.

    "Good job as play-by-play man for the Cane season……vast improvement over past seasons"

    I wonder if this is the same lady that scolded Pat at a Hurricanes meeting for telling fans what the score was in the games way way to much?

    I am not passing judgement on Dustin's PBP as opposed to Pat's call. I just thought Irene Y's comment was really funny. You have been exposed now Patty!


  5. I found it very interesting Paisley is ready to sell more shares in the team. This has never been a topic or offered to the public to my knowledge (even though share purchases may have been available if someone asked).