Hockey Canada and Mosaic Place battle over finances
Hockey Canada was left with a sour taste in their mouths after a week in Moose Jaw.
© Katie Brickman
The crew at Mosaic Place put on the finishing touches of the ice for the Telus Cup in April. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
The national hockey organization sent a letter to the Mosaic Place board and others detailing their disappointment during Telus Cup.
“Our letter was directed to the Mosaic Place board of directors and the mayor,” said Jeff Beck, manager of events for Hockey Canada.
The national championship was held in Moose Jaw at Mosaic Place from April 21 to 27.
The Times-Herald spoke with Jeff Beck, Hockey Canada manager of events on June 4 and he addressed the letter, saying the organization would be in a tough position to come back.
“It is more along the financial structure there,” Beck said of their disappointment. “More so the fact that the event will have a hard time generating any legacy in the community because of the costs at the facility.”
Allegedly, the cost of the event was agreed to be $90,000, but the supposed final bill was $160,000.
Beck mentioned that he didn’t believe Mosaic Place acted in bad faith, as they knew some costs would accrue during the week, but those costs were just too high.
“It really comes down to the little extras. There were a lot of additional costs throughout the course of the planning of the event that probably wasn’t in the initial budget that was agreed to,” he stated.
“I would say at one point, we were comfortable with a certain amount that was higher than normal, but we could make it work. Just over the course of the planning of the event, it just continued to escalate.”
Although the letter was issued last week by Hockey Canada, the board of directors at Mosaic Place has yet to officially see it or discuss it.
Scott Clark, general manager of Mosaic Place has read the letter and stated it was disappointing to see.
“It is a little frustrating and disappointing, to be quite honest. I know the letter is there and it was received last week. It goes to our board on June 24. They haven’t had an opportunity to view it or respond to it yet as management hasn’t either,” Clark stated. “To have this letter leaked is questionable at best. But nonetheless, if there are concerns there from Hockey Canada, we are more than happy to respond and sit down with them and go through any concerns that they have.”
Clark also explained that the process to even get the event here in Moose Jaw took a long time.
“Going back, we started negotiating an agreement for the event with the local organizers back in July of 2011. That was a process that I think went 15 months. In February of 2013, we finished the lease and everybody was happy with it,” said Clark. “Hockey Canada signed off on that lease. It was approved then, in February 2013, and the local organizers also signed off on it. It was filed with us and we moved ahead with the event.”
Clark would not comment on the initial dollars of the budget, saying, “those are confidential … and I don’t think it is appropriate.”
According to Clark, after agreeing upon the initial budget in February 2013, Hockey Canada approached Mosaic Place in October or November about turning the curling rink area into the Molson Canadian Hockey House.
“We were able to come to an agreement on an amendment to the lease. Both parties signed off on that for hosting the Hockey House and the cabaret,” Clark stated.
When asked if the issue was that Mosaic Place charged Hockey Canada too much, Clark stated that he would not comment on their business model.
“They came back to us with a budget and quite often asked us to see if we could find some savings,” he said. “We found ways to make it work and work within their business model and plan for the event. Without that, we wouldn’t have satisfied Hockey Canada and (they) wouldn’t have signed off on the event themselves either.”
The biggest issue for Hockey Canada is that with how high the costs were for the event, there was “zero legacy to go back into minor hockey or hockey development.”
The letter allegedly states that Mosaic Place is blacklisted from hosting any other Hockey Canada events, but Beck did say there is a way to rectify the situation.
“It can be rectified with the proper business model. There has to be a little more give and take, obviously,” Beck said. “We understand it is a business and there is a need to be financially responsible. But really, anything like one of our events like this, that is a national championship, anything that is generated in the community goes back to the community. “
Clark said that Mosaic Place would not hold blame for the event that didn’t go as well as they were anticipating.
“It is confusing when you come after an event and say that it didn’t perform the way you wanted it to. I don’t think that should be on the backs of the facility or the tax payers, that’s for sure,” he said. “We are not willing to underwrite the losses of the event. I don’t think that is proper and that is not the way we have operated the business so far and I don’t think it would be wise to. I don’t think it would be wise for the tax payers to underwrite and ensure financial success of these events.”
Although Hockey Canada is frustrated with how much the facility cost, they were pleased with the atmosphere during the games.
“I would say the one thing we did mention in our letter was a big thank you to the city, Moose Jaw Minor Hockey, the Warriors and the volunteers. It was a great hockey community,” he said.
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