Cham­pi­onship team pro­duces near record profit for Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG— mlieben­berg@prairiepost.com

Last sea­son's cham­pi­onship per­for­mance by the Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos re­sulted in the se­cond best profit in the fran­chise his­tory.

The team an­nounced a profit of $561,500 for the 2017-18 sea­son at the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing, Sept. 25.

“It was a fab­u­lous year for the Bron­cos in 2017/18,” Board of Di­rec­tors Chair Trent McCleary said af­ter the meet­ing.

“The suc­cess on the ice def­i­nitely rolled over into the suc­cess in the busi­ness op­er­a­tions.”

The av­er­age game at­ten­dance was 2,550 per game, which was an in­crease of 544 per game over the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

There were 11 sell­out games dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son and all 13 play­off games in Swift Cur­rent sold out.

The 2017/18 team won the Ed Chynoweth Cup to be­come Western Hockey League cham­pi­ons for the third time in fran­chise his­tory. The only other time when the Bron­cos recorded a higher profit was with the cham­pi­onship win in 1992/93, when the profit was $567,000.

“It was a fab­u­lous year,” he said about the 2017/18 sea­son. “There has been of course a lot of turnover in the three di­rec­tors po­si­tions, but go­ing for­ward we have three qual­ity in­di­vid­u­als and there's a tem­plate to work off, which is nice for them to have. So we want to keep it go­ing. We know that there's go­ing to be prob­a­bly some on-ice chal­lenges, just be­cause of the cycli­cal na­ture of ju­nior hockey. We're a de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, so we de­velop both on and off the ice and in the busi­ness op­er­a­tions. When we have suc­cess, other op­por­tu­ni­ties open up for our staff and our team, and we have to roll with those punches and we're ready and look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenges ahead of us.”

He noted the Bron­cos sold 2,406 sea­son tick­ets in 2017/18, which is a new record. The team's suc­cess cre­ated a lot of en­thu­si­asm in the com­mu­nity, which re­sulted in good sea­son ticket sales for the 2018/19 sea­son.

“We're start­ing the year with a record num­ber of sea­son tick­ets, I be­lieve just over 2,150 sea­son tick­ets for this year,” he said. “So the busi­ness op­er­a­tions with the fran­chise has done a very good job max­i­miz­ing the on­ice prod­uct into the of­fice suc­cess as well.”

The board of di­rec­tors have re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions for the new sea­son, con­sid­er­ing the many changes in the make-up of the team.

“We ex­pect a com­pet­i­tive team that will be work­ing hard, but we're also re­al­is­tic to know that there's some build­ing that has to hap­pen,” he said. “We're al­ways look­ing for suc­cess, and it might not be in the wins and losses, but it might be in de­vel­op­ment. ... It's re­al­is­tic to say we're go­ing to be build­ing for an­other cham­pi­onship team and we re­ally hope it doesn't take 25 years.”

It will be the task of new Bron­cos Head Coach and Direc­tor of Hockey Op­er­a­tions Dean Brock­man and the new Direc­tor of Player Per­son­nel Gary Au­bin to find play­ers and to de­velop a win­ning team. In the in­terim McCleary felt there will be a sig­nif­i­cant role to play for the team's new Direc­tor of Busi­ness Op­er­a­tions Nathan Mac­Don­ald.

“There's lots of other ways that Nathan Mac­Don­ald can cre­ate the fan ex­pe­ri­ence other than just the on-ice prod­uct and it's things like that we're go­ing to hope to maybe carry us through some of the leaner times with the on-ice,” McCleary said.

Mac­Don­ald men­tioned that the profit from last sea­son's suc­cess has cre­ated a solid foun­da­tion for the busi­ness op­er­a­tions.

“The team that's been there since be­fore I was there has been work­ing re­ally hard in mak­ing sure that our game day ex­pe­ri­ences is some­thing the fans re­ally en­joy, and I'm look­ing for­ward to con­tribut­ing to that,” he said. “I'm not ex­actly sure what that will look like go­ing for­ward, but I think there's a lot of ways that we can im­prove and just hav­ing a cus­tomer first men­tal­ity and we're here to sup­port our com­mu­nity. So that's our mind­set and our goal go­ing for­ward.”

Ac­cord­ing to Shane La­casse, the chair of the fi­nance com­mit­tee on the board of di­rec­tors, the Bron­cos had a cu­mu­la­tive profit of $1.3 mil­lion over the last six years.

“We're go­ing to con­ser­va­tively in­vest it for right now,” he said. “We've got ed­u­ca­tional li­a­bil­i­ties that we've got to be very mind­ful of that we got to make sure that we have enough cash for that. We're go­ing to have to be very care­ful here in the next cou­ple of years.”

He felt the big­gest chal­lenge for the Bron­cos from a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive will be to main­tain their sea­son ticket base.

“That's the life­line of the Bron­cos,” he said. “We worked re­ally hard to get to this point where we have over 2,000 sea­son tick­ets and the whole trick is just to try and main­tain that sea­son ticket base and mak­ing sure our fans are en­gaged.”

Brock­man's goal as head coach and direc­tor of hockey op­er­a­tions is to see the team im­prove dur­ing the sea­son.

“We'd like to get to a fast paced game, but right now we're kind of dealt with what we have and then we're just go­ing to have to work hard, com­pete hard, and just not be de­nied ev­ery time that we play,” he said.

He ac­knowl­edged that it might be a chal­lenge to keep Bron­cos fans happy while the team is go­ing through a de­vel­op­ment phase.

“We're not go­ing to keep the fans happy ev­ery night, just be­cause we're at a phase in our pro­gram right now where we have to re­set and do things right, not just for this year, but for next year and a year down the road,” he said. “So un­for­tu­nately we're in that sit­u­a­tion. ... You have to go through that cy­cle and we have to cre­ate some things. We don't have a tremen­dous amount of as­sets to go out and just re­build and reload. So it's go­ing to take time and we hope peo­ple have pa­tience, but I un­der­stand when they don't, for sure.”

DEAN BROCK­MAN

NATHAN MAC­DON­ALD

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