New deal

Five-year agree­ment signed be­tween DFFH and War­riors

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - FRONT PAGE - JOSHUA SANTOS

It was a cel­e­bra­tory kind of morn­ing as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the City of Moose Jaw’s Down­town Facility and Field House (DFFH) board and the Moose Jaw War­riors signed a new fiveyear agree­ment at Mo­saic Place Thurs­day.

“It takes two to tango and I’m sure they’ll have an opin­ion, but we’ve had sev­eral meet­ings with the War­riors and I be­lieve we have a re­ally good re­la­tion­ship go­ing. We’re on a friendly ba­sis,” said Coun. Brian Swan­son, chair of the DFFH board. “We both have a clear un­der­stand­ing that there can’t be one party suc­ceed­ing and the other not.”

Alan Miller, gen­eral man­ager of the Moose Jaw War­riors, said the groups had a good un­der­stand­ing of fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­i­ties and the fu­ture of the build­ing and hockey club.

“There was a real good sense of work­ing to­gether to put a deal to­gether that worked for both par­ties. The process was ex­cel­lent from our per­spec­tive,” Miller said.

The War­riors had to con­sider all as­pects of their op­er­a­tion when sign­ing the agree­ment.

“When you look at putting to­gether a long-term lease which is an im­por­tant piece of busi­ness for both par­ties, you can’t re­ally re­act and make de­ci­sions based on one, two or three years in terms of your suc­cess,” Miller said. “You have to be cog­nizant of the big­ger pic­ture, you have to be cog­nizant of what you’re ex­penses are and what you can gen­er­ate in rev­enue.”

The GM said a num­ber of the War­riors’ con­cerns were ad­dressed early on with no is­sues at this point in time.

“We went into ne­go­ti­a­tions un­der­stand­ing that we felt com­fort­able with the lease we had. We knew there was go­ing be some give and take,” said Miller. “We know there was go­ing to be some tweak­ing.”

He said the club has li­a­bil­i­ties, such as schol­ar­ship funds that ex­tend over a mil­lion dol­lars to ap­prox­i­mately 60 play­ers, that they want to pro­tect when they plan their fu­ture and look at the op­er­a­tional fi­nances. Those fac­tors were dis­cussed in pre­vi­ous meet­ings.

It helps that the team was able to shake off their los­ing ways and flour­ish as a top con­tender in the Western Hockey League.

“I think that’s true about any­thing in life. You have to go through tough times to ap­pre­ci­ate good times,” said Swan­son. “It cer­tainly helps that the War­riors are win­ning this year. It makes things a lot eas­ier for ev­ery­body.”

The War­riors left the Moose Jaw Civic Cen­tre, known as the Crushed Can, in 2011. Mov­ing into Mo­saic Place helped the or­ga­ni­za­tion tremen­dously.

“This build­ing was a game-changer for this fran­chise,” Miller said. “It went from a small-mar­ket team in the older build­ing, which had a lot of his­tory and a lot of char­ac­ter but was prob­a­bly, in the big­ger pic­ture, go­ing to make it dif­fi­cult to sus­tain this fran­chise here in Moose Jaw.”

Play­ing in the arena has helped the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­cruit and re­tain new play­ers. It also en­abled the team to at­tract more fans, which in turn gen­er­ates more rev­enue from ticket sales, sou­venirs and con­ces­sions.

“We’ve in­vested a lot in our club and a lot in our play­ers and we have the ameni­ties that are in the best in­ter­est for our play­ers and are in the best in­ter­est of the devel­op­ment of our play­ers,” he said.

JOSHUA SANTOS/TIMES-HER­ALD

Alan Miller, gen­eral man­ager of the Moose Jaw War­riors said mov­ing to Mosiac Place was a game changer for the fran­chise.

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