Monday, 30 March 2015

Canes Hold Public Info Session

A large crowd turned out to a public information session Monday night at the ENMAX Centre regarding the current status of the Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club.

A lot of information was provided in the one hour meeting and when it was all said and done, there wasn't one single question asked from the floor. Media spoke with President Doug Paisley after. You can listen to that below in its entirety. A summary of what was discussed is in point form below the interview.

Here is a synopsis on what was talked about and the information provided:

* Because this was not a shareholders meeting, no financial information was provided

* 75% of shareholders must vote "yes" in order for a motion to pass. This was referring to a future vote on selling the club

* At the last AGM, a motion was put forward asking that shareholders hold a vote on selling the hockey club to a private owner

* President Doug Paisley says WHL staff will be at the next Hurricanes shareholders meeting to answer questions

* Vice-President Reid Williams stated the Board is confident it's moving in the right direction under GM Peter Anholt

* Board calls Anholt "Breath of fresh air" for the hockey club

* In a statement, Anholt said he is focusing on the WHL Bantam Draft, the Import Draft, and then will turn his attention to hiring a Head Coach

* Anholt stated he's spoken a fair bit with highly-touted prospect Jordy Bellerive and his family and noted getting him to sign is "a work in progress".

* Crowd told total re-branding of the club a few seasons ago cost $70,000. $18,000 just for the new logo

* Hurricanes recent Celebrity Sports Dinner with Paul Coffey brought in $47,000.

* Local promoter Ron Sakamoto spoke as well and said: "this Board has accountability, transparency, and pride".

* Those in attendance were encouraged to buy a share. Crowd told the Canes are worth between $6 million & $7 million.

* This past season's attendance was an average 2982. That's the lowest attendance for the club in the last 15 seasons.

* Goal is to sell 2000 seasons tickets and have an average attendance of 3500 per game



  1. I don't think anyone asked any questions because there wasn't much to say. As the lady in front of us said it almost felt like a 'pat yourself on the back' session with even Ron Sakamoto getting up to offer additional pats. It was that and the selling of shares and season tickets. Buying a share at this point is a waste of money. As the mrs. said this evening, a share might give you a vote but if the vote is to sell the team your 100 buckaroos went up in smoke in a matter of months. I anticipate the questions will be asked at the next shareholders meeting when we can actually ask about that things that need to be answered.


    1. It's funny how two people at the same meeting at the same time can see things differently when presented with the same information. I actually didn't see a lot of "pat yourselves on the back" last night. What I saw was a board finally presenting information in a clear understandable manner and answering some questions that have previously been asked of them.

      During the season I heard a lot comments / questions as to why this meeting hadn't been held as it normally would have during the season. I think Mr. Paisley did a good job explaining why the board felt it better to delay until now. I also think he did a fairly good job explaining what the board had to work through during this season with the amount of change over that they had.

      As for questions yet to be answered at a shareholders only meeting, really if a person is a fan, a shareholder, or a casual observer of this club and was in attendance last night it seems pretty obvious that this will be another losing season off the ice as well as it was on the ice. The only question really is how bad is it? Considering the information Mr. Mclean shared on his financial comparison it is clear that this board feels that they have tapped out the corporate support and are asking for the community to step up and buy tickets. Again, no surprise but didn't see it as patting themselves on the back.

      Onto the next meeting, to vote on having a meeting.

  2. Well actually the share goes "up in smoke" the second after you buy it. They have no intrinsic value and are not actively traded on the open market. They have a vote at a shareholders meeting. So if you see this lady again "pat her on the back and thank her for her support". The 100.00 is a donation basically and if you don't want to make it, feel free to complain in front of a mirror but you won't get near a shareholders meeting. So let's see. The new board, consisting of two accountants, two bankers, a financial analyst/planner, numerous successful business persons, and a promoter with about 18 promoter of the year awards decided it was a good time to hold a meeting and blow smoke up your arse. That is laughable. They could of handed out free season tickets last night and some of you would still complain because there was no free popcorn to go with it. aka Never Happy.

    1. Why do you think "you won't get near a shareholders meeting??" It's a one time donation. It doesn't keep renewing every year, so it's not like it's a bad investment that you have to keep paying.

      (I'd give my name, but you're not posting yours, so I'll pass on that).

  3. I never said that the board was blowing smoke up your arse or anyone else's arse for that matter. And I do applaud this board for finally seeing to it that there were changes in the hockey operations. What I was saying is that it really felt more like a rah rah session for the new board than anything else. Well that and a push to buy shares which was suggested and encouraged by Paisley and MacLean. It almost seemed like this meeting was held to announce the next shareholders meeting which would lead to the big vote at another meeting and if you wanted to be a part of these two big meetings than you better hurry and buy a share, Just our opinion.


  4. So for you all that never made it lastnight to watch the informational session I will give you the quick math. They believe that they are going to finish around 2.2 million in revenue. If this is true then the budgeted expenses that they presented at the AGM of 2.8 million will result in roughly a 5 to. 600,000.00 dollar loss. Cant wait to see how they spin doctor this one. But my math could be wrong, because they didnt give us any true financial information last night! LMFAO
    One thing is foresure if the mortgage biz crashes their pitchman could find work at your local fair pitching the latest and greatest gizmo type product!....

  5. They didn't disclose financial information because it wasn't solely a shareholders’ meeting. If you were there, you would have noticed the shareholders that got excited when Cory provided general numbers of getting people in the seats and purchasing tickets. Also, LMFAO are you 12?
    As for the board tooting their own horn, you should maybe take a look at the overall intention of the meeting. It was to bring clarity and transparency to the city on the operations of the Hurricanes. As in the past the public has thought there was information being hidden from the public. Which may have been the case, but with the recent changes on the board that is not the case now. As much as you may think they were bragging about their success, I think maybe they should have as this year is not nearly as terrible as last. As well, it was an information session for the public to understand what is at risk. The team will likely sell if there isn’t more community support. With that being said, the new owner of that team won’t give a care about Lethbridge or any of you that think you are so damn important.
    Finally, purchasing the share isn't about having $100 turn into $100,000. If you want to purchase shares to make a profit, I suggest looking somewhere else. Also, if you are complaining about $100, clearly you have bigger financial issues yourself and maybe should focus on those instead of the Hurricanes finances. The intention of the stock is to have an investment in your community owned team, not to turn a profit. That so many of you want to have say over and seem to care so much when they lose money, but aren't willing to actually purchase tickets or attend games to support them.
    As much as I hope the team can get the support it needs and stay local, I secretly hope it does sell. Then all of you who have been complaining can start complaining about how much your taxes increase, when the city needs to find a way to pay for the Enmax!

  6. Lethbridge is too prime of a market for an owner not to invest into. If the Canes sell another franchise would be here within 2-3 years.

    The building, population and geography all make Lethbridge extremely appealing. Stop fear mongering that we would lose hockey for good.

    Maybe with a competent owner we could see winning hockey for once in a decade. This city is done with the Hurricane brand and everything to do with it. They are a laughing stock to the people here, from children to seniors.

    I feel bad for the players as they become casualties to politics and poor business practice from management and shareholders.

    1. I find it amusing that you now speak for the entire city on this particular issue. While I agree that Lethbridge is a prime for a WHL franchise I also agree with points made last night that regardless of whether this is a community owned team or a privately owned team, without public support (butts in seats as Mr. McLean would say) this team will continue to struggle.

      I'm not saying there weren't some bad decisions made in the past, but I am willing to allow this group of board members the opportunity to right the ship. Private ownership is NOT the end all be all, just look at the current state of the Blades and their fans comments on some other blogs. The "right" ownership would make this work, the only question is, where is that right owner??

      Another interesting statement last night was that in the end, the WHL must approve the sale and accept the new owner into their little group. Something tells me they already know who they are prepared to accept and who they are not.

      And while I did feel badly for the players under Robson and Berehowsky, I am also willing to give Mr. Anholt some more time as he seems to have his S*&T together.

      Feel free to voice your own opinion, but mine is that this city is still willing to support this team, in this ownership model, just not for much longer if things go off the rails again.

    2. Your comments are fair but let me reiterate. I am not speaking for the people of Lethbridge as much as I am observing them. Actions speak louder than words and it is pretty clear, in that regard, that there is a massive amount of apathy towards the franchise under it's current leadership. As a twenty-something male born and raise in this city, I have a pulse on what I believe is a crucial demographic for the Canes. As an entertainment option, the Canes are no-where on the radar of young people. Further, they are the butt end of jokes and used as examples of ineptitude..

      There is a generational gap that will only worsen if/as the team continues to spiral downward.

      The name Lethbridge Hurricanes has become synonymous with "suck" in the youth culture of our city. That is a horrible place for the franchise to be. Do you honestly trust the "old boys" club running this thing to properly market this team? How can you market losing?

      I am not addressing Anholt because the issues run way deeper. You are looking at symptoms, I am talking about the root cause. I am sure Anholt is a great guy and will be better than previous people, but the circumstances of his hiring should be an embarrassment. You cannot build a strong franchise when you are so mismanaged that you cannot even hold merit based interviews because of financial limitations. I just don't understand how anyone can trust an ownership based that has a track record of,

      Hofford, Stasiuk, Firing Dyck (big mistake), Preston, Berehosky, etc.

      I agree that there are bad examples of privately owned teams as well. But I will take my chances over what I have seen here over the past 15 years.

      This city is willing to support "a" team. But I think this one has out-stayed its welcome. And the next generation will not be championing the cause of this franchise to their children.

      The most I have seen people my age talk about the Hurricanes (mainly on Twitter) is regarding the sale of the team #sellthecanes

      - BB

    3. And let me reiterate that I say all of this because I do care about the Hurricanes, and more importantly, our city. I grew up going to the games and even made it to a good chunk of away games during the 08' run. I don't consider myself a Hurricane fan but I am a fan of hockey and Lethbridge as a home.

      I say all these things out of sincerity, not as an anonymous cheap-shot poster on a blog.

      I would love nothing more than to see great jr. hockey in Lethbridge. My comments are harsh but I don't feel they are unjustified.

      Think of how much cache' new ownership could have with the younger crowd if a guy like Versteeg or Klinkhammer were involved (even as a figurehead).

      I want to see youth view jr. hockey as, for lack of a better term, "cool" again. What isn't cool is hearing negative news stories about the team at a board-room level and that has gone on far too long.

    4. Brock, I am like you a fan of hockey, particularly junior hockey. It is somewhat a passion of mine but unlike you, it is driven by the Hurricane brand. I too want to see great junior hockey in this city, and I don't argue that a private owner won't get it done, I just feel strongly that this model, the one that brought junior back to the city in the first place should get every opportunity to get it right before selling it to a private owner. Again, not because I believe it would be worse but because once you turn that page it cannot be unturned.

      I wasn't here when the Broncos left, but I was here when the community worked to bring the Hurricanes to the city. And that is probably where some of the disconnect with the younger fans hits as compared to the older fans. We feel that ownership as a shareholder and remember what it was like when there was no game in town. Again I agree that it is unlikely that there won't be team in this city, but we do remember.

      To your point about Chris Versteeg or Rob Klinkhammer being involved all I can do is again remind you that a group of alums wanted, really wanted, to buy Saskatoon and the WHL, in all their wisdom, instead approved the current ownership. There is NO guarantee that this same situation wouldn't happen again in Lethbridge.

      As for the youth finding this team cool again, well winning usually goes a long way to achieve that goal and I again believe that Anholt is driving this in a better direction finally. Are they going to be giant killers next season? Likely not, but the changes have been positive and I believe things will continue to get better. But looking around the rink this past season I can't help but notice a lot of young kids wearing the Hurricane jackets. I will give credit where it is due and say both the Hurricanes and LMHA seem to be doing a good job cobranding the Hurricanes.

      Truly good luck with your blog, I hope it does well.

    5. Great response. I actually agree with you on many points, I just think our conclusions come out the opposite side of the fence. I really respect your point about younger people possibly taking the team for granted and being more willing to roll the dice with public ownership. I may fall into the category. I think I still have opinions to form. Ultimately I just find it difficult to think anything will change. I am an optimist but there are realities that cannot be denied.

      I just want to see winning hockey again. I don't care if Rob Ford owns the team if it brings stability and winning. Winning hockey is not only good for the players, but for the whole community.

      Appreciate the support on the blog. I am going to try keep posts semi-regular. Look for a 2015 Bantam Draft preview soon...

  7. Well said. In an ideal world a new private owner would probably take a bath for a year or two before looking to greener pastures. Most businesses won't be around for long loosing money. Who says a new owner vetted by some of the geniuses in the dub wouldn't bugger off after a couple of years. Look at Kootenay, 2200 fans and private, threatening to move. Swift Current 2100 fans and public and making a small profit why isn't the league jumping all over them. FYI Swifts and Kootenay's operating budget is around 2 million. Why is ours 2.6-2.8. Lethbridge averaging 3000 fans over the last 10 years or so and loosing buckets. This BOD seems to have it together. Give them the chance. Further IMHO the Articles need to be amended to facilitate a process to sell this club. This has not been done, because if it was, the shareholder needs to be notified in writing of the changes, a special meeting must be held and voted on Ala the previous amendments that were made. There is nothing in the Articles that facilitate a process to sell the club. The original people behind the club did this on purpose to ensure that the City would not be again without WHL franchise and to specifically road block a Lethbridge to Swift Current moves as in the past

  8. It was stated last night that one of the biggest problems is that it takes 6 months of a board members first term to get brought up to speed. I believe that this is probably the biggest problem with the community ownership model. A private owner can make swift decisions and impact the direction rapidly. I do believe that operating at 2.6 to 2.8 million in expenses is ridiculous, however I dont believe you can compare the Canes to Koot or Swift. Just go see a game in those barnes and you will understand.

    1. You have an argument about the community ownership model only if it can be spoken that the same applies to Moose Jaw, Swift Current and Prince Albert.

  9. True. I am talking budget wise and nothing else. Same travel, same billet costs, same equipment costs and a multitude of the same budget line items. Why is Leth 5-600 k higher was the question. There is more to the story than poor attendance (2200) in Cranbrook which can't be repeated here.

  10. Got motivated to start a Cane's blog today. Pat's will always be king but I have wanted to create one for a while.

    I keep it light-hearted so if you are super serious this might not be for you. Would love to get some feedback and conversation going.