Revenues down, but franchise's finances remain strong
For the third straight season the Moose Jaw Warriors saw their winning percentage drop.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Chad Taylor, Moose Jaw Warriors president, speaks at the team's annual general meeting Thursday at the Heritage Inn.
It only figures then that their revenues have gone in the same direction.
Despite posting a disappointing 21-42-3-6 record and missing the playoffs for a second straight season, the Warriors turned a profit for the year that ended on May 31, 2014.
The Warriors announced net earnings of $61,566 for the year and have a very healthy cache of retained earnings to the tune of $1,329.161 moving forward.
"We would love to have made more money, but we're keeping our costs in line," said Warriors president Chad Taylor after the team's annual general meeting Thursday. "We lost a lot of revenue off of walk-up tickets this year. When you have a poorer team on the ice, the fan base isn't going to come support you as well. We understand that and we were prepared. When you're going through a rebuild we understand that you're going to have some ups and downs and you just have to work through them. That is going to happen in cycles."
Taylor and Mark Hetherington ran unopposed and will retain their places on the board for three more years. Bob Dougall joins the board as a new member. He also won by acclamation after incumbent Shea Jameson didn't seek re-election.
Dougall sought a position on the board a year ago.
"Bob's a great business leader in Moose Jaw and we look forward to his input and his ideas," said Taylor.
Taylor thanked those in attendance for their patience as the team tries to build through the draft.
"We're working hard to be better for you and I want to thank you all for your patience during this rebuild," said Taylor.
Once again the Booster Club was a vital financial resource. They raised $205,310 to go along with everything else they do for the club â€” which includes cooking meals throughout training camp.
"I'm glad they're here. I just wish they were all getting younger instead of older," said Warriors board member Larry Sentes.
The Warriors strong financial success was also a boon to Mosaic Place once again. In addition to the $157,875 they paid in ice rental, the Warriors also made their annual $200,000 "Multiplex Pledge." They have six years remaining on that pledge. Mosaic Place also received $419,407 in their revenue sharing agreement with the team.
"I think we're a great partner for Mosaic Place," said Taylor. "We had to get a new facility and that's the only way we could keep the club here. We respect Mosaic Place and we're a partner. We're going to do whatever we can to make sure the revenue is good on both sides."
There is two years remaining on the five-year revenue sharing agreement.
"When you look at our agreement compared to other teams in the league, we have a fair agreement," said Taylor. "If there's room for improvement, I think we need to work better on marking ideas and trying to create a better fan experience."
While there was a buzz at the meeting after the announced the hiring of Tim Hunter as their new head coach earlier in the day, the Warriors board weren't blind to the challenges they're going to face in the coming season.
"I like to think that we're OK in terms of season tickets," said Taylor. "My concern right now is in that 20-26 year old bracket that we're not seeing those people come out to games. We might have to some promotions to try to generate some interest from that group there. This year will give us a better idea as we come out of this rebuild."
Attendance was down at Mosaic Place last season, a trend that was common across the league.
"I believe there were 19 clubs that reporter a decline in attendance last year," said Taylor. "That's a bit of a concern out there, but there are some things being done that may transpire over the next year that will help combat that."
Taylor was happy to announce that the league has signed a national sponsorship agreement with Rogers Sportsnet across the CHL.
"This new contract will provide additional marketing dollars right across the country for all junior hockey programs," said Taylor.
Taylor also touched on a possible second attempt to unionize junior hockey players in the last two years. Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union, has said they are looking at an attempt to organize the players.
"They have better representation. The last time they had some credibility issues, but they've got stronger people behind them," said Taylor.
While he felt confident that the players in Moose Jaw were happy with the way they have been treated and the programs and resources that are available to them, Taylor also acknowledged that anything that could potentially affect your bottom line is worth monitoring closely.
"The league is going to look after that on their end," said Taylor. "Our agreement is a lot of different compared to the other leagues out east. We're in a good position, but it's still a concern when someone can challenge you in that respect."