Canes’ agree­ment won’t cost city ex­tra funds

Lethbridge Herald - - Front Page - Tim Kali­nowski LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

Leth­bridge Hur­ri­canes Hockey Club gen­eral man­ager of busi­ness op­er­a­tions Terry Huis­man wants to clear up some mis­con­cep­tions about city coun­cil’s de­ci­sion ear­lier this week to de­fer the club’s an­nual main­te­nance fee for the pub­liclyowned En­max Cen­tre.

“There is no money be­ing lost here to any­body, and it is not af­fect­ing the City’s cash flow,” he ex­plained, con­trary to what some have said in the com­mu­nity since coun­cil voted to de­fer the $166,667 fee dur­ing Mon­day’s meet­ing.

“It’s not a tax­payer bailout or any­thing along that line, and it has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with our lease at all other than as it is stated in our lease. That (fee) agree­ment is a sep­a­rate agree­ment from our lease.”

Huis­man said the money to pay the fee was orig­i­nally loaned to the club from the City’s MSR fund, and the fee agree­ment al­lowed the club to pay that fixed term loan back an­nu­ally at a cost of $166,667 to the club through the 2028-2029 hockey sea­son. The same amount of money, Huis­man stressed, will be paid back when all is said and done — just one year later.

Huis­man thanked coun­cil for un­der­stand­ing the fi­nan­cial re­al­i­ties the Leth­bridge Hockey Club, which op­er­ates on a break-even ba­sis, is fac­ing with ac­tual and an­tic­i­pated rev­enue losses due to COVID-19 this year.

“We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the City work­ing with us on this,” Huis­man said. “We are work­ing within the guide­lines that are laid out within our lease agree­ment, and we went through the proper chan­nels and we agreed on both sides, both the City and our­selves, as far as the de­fer­ral of this main­te­nance fee agree­ment.

“We work in a ticket-driven in­dus­try,” he em­pha­sized. “With­out the abil­ity to sell tick­ets to have fans come to watch hockey games, it re­ally hand­cuffs us in rev­enue gen­er­a­tion. It was im­per­a­tive we got that agree­ment (from coun­cil).”

As for Hur­ri­canes’ on-ice busi­ness, Huis­man said all signs re­mained pos­i­tive for a late start to the 2020-21 sea­son on Dec. 4.

“Right now (our play­ers) are train­ing in their home­towns get­ting ice where they can,” he said. “We un­der­stand the im­por­tance of get­ting them back to play­ing and be­ing com­pet­i­tive on the ice. We are work­ing with the league to try and find a so­lu­tion so we can make it hap­pen sooner rather than later.”

Fol­low @TimKalHer­ald on Twit­ter

Her­ald file photo by Ian Martens

The ice sur­face sits empty at the En­max Cen­tre at the end of a short­ened 2019-20 sea­son for the Leth­bridge Hur­ri­canes due to the COVID-19 pan­demic. @IMarten­sHer­ald

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