By Woodard, Dale on September 13, 2017.
AC/DC sang about it and named an album after it.
Now the Lethbridge Hurricanes are living it.
At the club’s annual general meeting Tuesday night it was announced to the shareholders in attendance that after a successful 2016-17 Western Hockey League regular season and playoff run that ran six games into the Eastern Conference final that the Hurricanes are indeed Back In Black.
At the AGM in the Canadian Western Bank Lounge upstairs at the Enmax Centre, the Hurricanes reported a profit of $731,710 and a net asset of just over $320,000.
Post meeting, Hurricanes president Doug Paisley noted that indeed, money talks.
“I think the numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “The success on the ice leads to success on the budget and success on the financials. The job that Peter (Anholt, Hurricanes general manager) has done with his staff and the personnel and the product on the ice, the engagement of the fans and the people in the building (as well as) the success for the Enmax and sales, everything is positive.”
Paisley credited Anholt and Hurricanes general manager of business operations Terry Huisman for the turnaround.
“The first move was getting the right guy at the helm behind the franchise and that was Peter and when you have a successful product on the ice it does make the business go better. But Terry (Huisman) lived through hell and stuck with it and he’s still here today and now we’re reaping the rewards of that.”
The Hurricanes average attendance last season was 3,709, on par with 3,746 in 2015-16.
“The big thing for me, when you look at what we talked about two or three years ago that what’s going to save this franchise is 3,500 or 3,600 a night and we’ve done it for two years in a row,” said Paisley. “That’s why there’s profit and that’s why we’re in the black. The fans have turned around and come back and supported their team. Those kids deserve that and the fans derserve it, too. It’s been a real team effort and good on Lethbridge.”
Paisley also tipped his hat to the team’s game-day staff.
“We’ve got a great building and I think we do a phenomenal job entertaining the fans away from the game. I’ve been to other rinks with the playoffs we’ve been to. We’ve seen the production, and I’m not going to run anybody down, but I think our production crew and the presentation in the game is a lot of fun. There’s a lot going on and kudos to Terry and his staff and Peter and his staff for making it fun to come to the rink again.”
Since arriving in Lethbridge in 2014, Anholt said it’s been fun to be part of the turnaround.
“I think there are a lot of reasons why. One, our players have been so good and a big part of the turnaround on the ice, so credit them. I think our coaching staff has been so good over the last while and that’s going to continue,” he said. “But I think the job our business department has done is second to none and how Terry and his staff have turned things around. There’s a lot of credit to pass around and it certainly is positive.”
Still, the Canes general manager took stock of the work still to be done.
“I think there are benchmarks,” said Anholt. “I think winning on the ice is certainly one thing. But I think there are other benchmarks. How many of your players get drafted and turn pro? Those are good benchmarks to have and when you look around the league the real successful franchises have accomplished a lot of those things. Does our staff get a chance to move up, too? Those are all things you want to see from your organization. We want to win on the ice. We want our players to move onward and upwards and we want our staff to move onward and upward.”
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