By Yoos, Cam on September 22, 2020.
City council voted during Monday’s regular meeting to allow the Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club to defer payment of its 2020 annual maintenance fee to the publicly-owned Enmax Centre due to lost revenues from COVID-19.
Council unanimously agreed to forgive the $166,667 fee owing this year and tack on an additional year on Hurricanes’ current lease agreement through 2030 to make up the difference at that time, basically writing off the 2020 season altogether for the City’s purposes.
Given the Hurricanes situation (with the end of the 2019 season cancelled and uncertainty surrounding the resumption of play this fall), Mayor Chris Spearman said COVID-19 has hit the team’s actual and anticipated revenues hard.
“In essence what we did was extend the contract by a year,” he explained, “so they will still end up paying the full total amount they committed to under the contract. And we just said, ‘You don’t have to pay it in 2020. We just added another year onto the lease agreement, and both parties have agreed to that.”
If asked whether that means the club is essentially getting a free year on that lease agreement by not paying anything this season, Spearman said he wouldn’t put it that way.
“I am not sure anybody is calling 2020 a free year,” he stated. “We have to look at cashflow and the big picture. I am sure they are paying salaries and all kinds of things. It’s certainly a challenge for every organization.”
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