Monday, 5 October 2015

Canes Hold 2015 AGM

For the first time in a long time, the Lethbridge Hurricanes held a rather uneventful Annual General Meeting. In fact not once in two hours was the word "sale" mentioned.

The biggest part of the evening was the Auditors Financial Report for last season (2014-15). It showed the Hurricanes lost $486,253 last season. That's on top of the more than $390,000 loss the club took the season before that.  On a positive note, the Canes have revamped their budgeting process and have come back with a very realistic and achievable goal this current WHL season of making a profit of just under $150,000.

In fact Business Manager Terry Husiman told shareholders he was able to find $100,000 in expenses to cut prior to the budget being put together and then found an additional $100,000 to cut after the budget was drafted.

Media spoke with Hurricanes President Doug Paisley (he was re-elected to the Board at the AGM). His thoughts you can listen to below:

Here are some of the highlights from Monday's Hurricanes AGM:

* The financial from last season show a loss of $486,25. Loss mainly due to over-budgeting on ticket sales and game night promotions.

* The Hurricanes have budgeted for a profit this season of close to $150,000

* Canes used money ($183,000) from team's Education Fund to put into general revenue. Team said it had paid "education costs" the past two seasons so it was allowed take money from the education fund to pay back the money it had given from general revenue.

* President Paisley says Hurricanes are working on a good partnership with the City of Lethbridge and ENMAX Centre

* Paisley says WHL Commissioner Ron Robison is happy direction the club is now going under current leadership

* Business Manager Terry Huisman says team is close to 2000 season tickets right now

* Hurricanes now selling new "Par Value" shares at $1000 each

* Main reason for the shares is to raise additional revenue for the club so it doesn't have to relay on borrowing money to operate in the future

* Hurricanes have about 2200 shares total, but only 900 shareholders are considered active

* GM Peter Anholt says team will be a lot more patient and develop these players and work really hard with the current group

* Six positions up for grabs on Hurricanes Board. Former President Brian McNaughton resigned leaving a total of six spots open. Six people were announced to be running. All were acclaimed including: Doug Paisley, Dave Olsen, Brent McDowell, Ryan Tunall, Blaine Hyggen, and Darren Stocker.



  1. Having McNaughton leave the Board needed to happen 3 years ago. It's quite possible the franchise wouldn't have had to go through all the crap they went through if he wouldn't have been the President. SO many terrible decisions from a guy who never should've been in charge. According to Hurricanes website, Nick Polychronopolous and Pat Shimbashi also did not put their names foreword for reelection.

    Hopefully this is the last nail in the coffin of that version of the Canes. What a disaster. It's going to be a long way back, but it sounds like we've got a much more informed and hockey educated Board of Directors. I'd like to see this incarnation succeed. As GM Anholt said last night they've got a "lot of work to do", but I'm hopeful they will remain competitive this year and give the fans something to cheer about.


  2. The financials are not all that good. Period. Let me explain. They always project based on increased numbers and not historical trends. Why forecast for increased numbers when that is not the trend? Tickets, advertising etc are projected to be much, much higher. The thing is that they don't budget for the low end which is a more responsible way of budgeting. It's always "this year will be better". Its like people in the oil patch that include overtime and bonuses in their household budget. Look at right now, these things are being greatly reduced or cut all together. You have to look at what is the base we will make. Bonuses and overtime are gravy but should not be considered when looking at paying the bills on a long term basis. This is not a way to budget. You have to look at worst case scenario when budgeting. Look at the boards in the rink to start with. There are a bunch empty spaces not sold. And there are big spaces where the Canes have put their own ads for flex packs and the United Way so these are not revenue generating spaces. These are just so the boards don't look like a 1970s rink without advertising. They are budgeting $374,000 in increased ticket sales. This is a 32% increase!!! 2015 was $1,161,171. They are projecting $1,535,000. If they knew the pulse of the city this is unrealistic in budgeting. They just make up numbers so they are not budgeting for a loss. We all knew last years projections were a joke and so are these increased projections. And ad revenue is expected to increase by $150,000. If the rink ad sales are any indication this is not realistic. Anybody able to read a financial statement could poke massive holes in the report. The most disgusting thing is taking education money into general funds. This is literally the parents breaking open the kids piggy bank to pay for the mortgage and promising to pay it back. How this was allowed to happen is borderline criminal. My father was a founding board member of the Canes and is disgusted that this happened as voiced by others old enough to remember the foundation of the team. The structure of the organization was set up so that education funds were segregated not to be used for anything else than the kids education.
    I just wish there was actual budgeting that was realistic and not "things will be better this year" thinking. Budgeting should not be optimistic. You should always be conservative and cautious. I fear that things will only get worse when the Canes have to start paying the City back their cash. They won't be able to differ this any more. The team is hanging by a financial shoe string here. By their estimates best case scenario is that the team makes $150,000. I am willing to bet that the team becomes insolvent during the coarse of this season unless there are a ton of $1,000 shares sold. Everything has to go right for the team to turn a profit. As negative as I am with the projected budget and misuse of funds I do commend Peter Anholt. He is not in charge of the accounting but I believe he is doing a good job in being accountable (no pun intended) and changing the ice product. He has brought some stability to the locker room. Unfortunately I don't see that stability translating to a massive increase in revenue. A ship can not turn on a dime. The damage the past 6 years have done to hockey fans in Lethbridge can not be turned around in one year. I hope I am wrong but I believe I am being realistic.


  3. That is what happens when you have a business manager who knows nothing about managing a business.

  4. I would agree with some of your assessment Stu, but I'm willing to wait and see what if some success on the ice can bring in more fans. I'll admit, I voted to sell the team and since that horse is dead, I'm just a fan waiting to see how this plays out. 63% of shareholders wanted to sell, but the other 37% thought differently. I'll let those in that 37% figure out ways to help the franchise dig themselves out of the financial hole they're buried under. I'm just a fan now......