The Soapbox: Hockey Canada must find better way to do business

Justin Crann
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If there is any one obvious conclusion to draw from the debacle between Mosaic Place and Hockey Canada, it’s that Hockey Canada must reassess the way that it does business.

Justin Crann

Just a few weeks after Hockey Canada departed the Friendly City following the Telus Cup — which was hosted at Mosaic Place in April — the organization’s manager of events and properties, Jeff Beck, sent a scathing letter to the facility’s board of directors.

The letter accused Mosaic Place of billing for almost twice the agreed-upon sum of $90,000, stating that “facility costs and facility cost overruns will approach $160,000,” but omitted the fact that the organization had approached Mosaic Place to renegotiate the deal to add in the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre for the purpose of hosting a cabaret and the Molson Canadian Hockey House.

Beck’s letter also overlooked the impact of poor attendance on the Telus Cup’s numbers.

In a letter of response, Kurt Saladana, the chair of the Mosaic Place and YaraCentre board of directors, wrote “facility costs would have been ‘kept at the $90,000 level that was promised during the event awarding process’ had the event organizers not requested additional facilities and contracted for them.”

In an interview earlier this week, Saladana added that Hockey Canada appears to follow a business model that is more hands-off with respect to the Telus Cup.

“They are very proactive in dealing with local organizations about the bid and where the Telus Cup is going to go, but after that, they seem to be very hands off,” he told the Times-Herald. “All they see is the end product.”

In fact, said Saladana, much of the facility’s dealings were done through the Host Committee, with Hockey Canada signing off to give financial approval as needed.

And therein lies their problem.

Rather than deal with the facility directly, it would appear that Hockey Canada prefers to use third parties that have little to no pre-existing relationship with the organization.

The issues with such a practice should be fairly clear. That Hockey Canada signed off on the rental of a facility — and therefore expenses that were higher than originally discussed — is not the fault of the venue.

Frankly, that the organization was unaware of the amount of money it was spending — or, apparently (as it is not mentioned in their letter) the poor attendance to the event — is an embarrassment.

That Hockey Canada was certain enough of its position it tried to threaten Mosaic Place and the City of Moose Jaw with blacklisting only serves to exacerbate the already embarrassing situation.

Of course, Saladana said, the two parties have since had discussions.

They have buried the hatchet and “I fully expect to see another Hockey Canada event happening here,” he added.

It’s awfully high road for him to be taking, given the egg on Hockey Canada’s face.

Justin Crann can be reached at 306-691-1265 or follow him on Twitter @J_Crann

Organizations: Hockey Canada, Telus, Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre Molson Canadian Hockey House Times-Herald Host Committee

Geographic location: Friendly, Moose Jaw

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