The Yorkton Terriers are looking for some financial relief from the City of Yorkton.
Monday, club president Corvyn Neufeld appeared before the regular meeting of Yorkton Council asking for a three-pronged relief package for the club;
*Forgiveness for office rental fees for the period of time the Gallagher Centre has and will be closed to the public. Assuming re-opening on September 1, 2020 this would equate to $2337.93.
*Forgiveness of ice rental fees for the 2019-2020 hockey season equal to $31,402.88.
*Forgiveness of annual advertising fee of $10,000
The total requested financial support equals $43,740.81.
Neufeld said the club entered the 2019-20 season some $60,000 in the red, but with a plan to address the debt. Then COVID-19 hit just as the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs were getting under way, and the plan was off the rails.
“We were making good progress on this plan and were on track to see improved financial performance, when COVID-19 hit. Unfortunately, while year-end financials will not be completed for another month, our accumulated deficit at the end of this season will be larger than it was at the start of the season (likely in excess of $80,000),” noted the letter circulated to Council from the club.
Neufeld said much of the current predicament is tied to the pandemic.
“As all members of council will know, COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on our economy – locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. It has had a significant impact on the Yorkton Terriers,” noted the report.
Our play-off run was cut short. We were limited to 2 home play-off games and 2 costly road games (our opponent was LaRonge). While we will never know, we felt we had a good chance to win the series and continue with a long playoff run. Playoffs are our “gravy” from a revenue perspective, he said.
While the request to the City is significant, Neufeld said the Terriers do contribute much to the community when things are going normally.
“According to a 2019 study commissioned by the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, the financial benefit of having the Yorkton Terriers in Yorkton in 2019 was $1,401,648 – this is money spent or created in the City of Yorkton by the team,” he noted.
The club is a major tenant of the City of Yorkton, playing all its home games at the Farrell Agencies Arena in the Gallagher Centre and renting office space for the team, head coach/GM and store also in the Gallagher Centre.
Neufeld said the Club does not make the request easily, but the need is real.
“The board of directors of the Yorkton Terriers understands that the decision to close the Gallagher Centre was not entirely at the discretion of the City of Yorkton. The decision to cancel the season was not made by the City of Yorkton. And we acknowledge responsibility for the financial position of the club rests with the board of directors,” he said, adding “It should be noted, that in the event the team can no longer operate and is required to dissolve and/or liquidate, all assets and liabilities of the club are assigned to the City of Yorkton.”
The statement might seem harsh but Neufeld said it was simply fact.
“I note this, not as a threat, but to point out that the City of Yorkton is a critical stakeholder in the success of the club,” he said.
The club president then reiterated the need.
“We are making this request out of desperate need for assistance in unprecedented times. While the board of directors has every intention of operating a team in the 2020-2021 season (provided we are allowed to), our financial situation is perilous. I assure you the board of directors are and will continue to make all reasonable efforts to continue to operate the Yorkton Terriers next season and for many seasons to come.
“We want to see the Yorkton Terriers continue to provide opportunities for young men to play hockey, for the team to provide great entertainment to members of our community and that the economic benefits of our team continue to accrue to our community for many more years.”
The request was referred to City Administration to come back to Council with a report at a future meeting.