Waterloo Region Record

Rangers turn a profit for 24th straight season, but less than last year

- JOSH BROWN Waterloo Region Record jbrown@therecord.com Twitter: @BrownRecor­d

KITCHENER — The Kitchener Rangers are in the black.

The Ontario Hockey League club turned a profit for the 24th consecutiv­e season by announcing total regular season revenues of $6,704,000 — up $577,000 from 2018 — for the 2019 fiscal year at their annual general meeting Monday night at the Aud.

When all the bills were paid, the team collected a cool $335,000 in profit, down $97,000 from last year.

About 120 season-ticket holders packed the Wright Auto Sales Lounge on East Avenue to hear this past season’s financial breakdown from chief operating officer Steve Bienkowski. Fans also got a chance to address general manager Mike McKenzie and coach Jay McKee.

Kitchener had just two home post-season dates after it was swept by the Guelph Storm in the first round of the playoffs, compared with nine tilts when it reached the OHL’s western conference final in 2018. That resulted in a drop in net playoff revenues from $530,000 to $103,000.

The brief playoff appearance also took a toll on the team’s apparel store, with sales dipping from $484,000 in 2018 to $418,000 this past season.

Operating costs for staff salaries, travel, equipment and training, among other things, remained steady at about $3 million, while facility fees to use the Aud increased $100,000 to just more than $1 million.

The Rangers donated $467,000 to charity and have about $1.45 million tied up in scholarshi­p commitment­s to current and former players. Those payments fluctuate, since they can become void if players ink a profession­al deal or fail to enrol as a full-time student at a post-secondary institutio­n within 18 months of leaving the OHL.

The club continues to hammer away at its debt.

The $10.6 million it borrowed to pay for seating expansion and dressing room and facility upgrades seven years ago is down to $6.2 million and on schedule to be paid off on time by 2028, if not before. An additional $1.7-million loan obtained in 2015 for the new score clock and ribbon board system is expected to be off the books by next year.

The Rangers also received about $53,000 — like all Canadian Hockey League clubs — from the world junior hockey tournament since it was held on home soil.

An agreement with the City of Kitchener that saw the Rangers receive some revenue from suite rentals for the first time this past season brought in about $338,000.

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