Chris Roberts/Courtesy of lloydminstersource.com
It takes a whole village to raise a child and in Lloydminster it takes a community to support a hockey team.
For the second year in a row since turning to the community ownership model, the Lloydminster Bobcats will turn a profit, said the team’s business manager, Malcolm Radke.
“Financially we had another strong year and we broke even,” said Radke on Wednesday. “We don’t know what the official number is yet, but we broke even and it’ll be right around what we made last year which is right around that $20,000 mark.”
Officially, the Bobcats reported a net income of $19,233 last year.
On the ice, this season was one of the Bobcats worst in recent memory, as they finished last in the North Division and, save for a brief stretch in January, were out of playoff contention from the get go.
Still, the team averaged 1,056 in attendance, which was the highest average in team history.
“The year didn’t go as well as we would’ve liked on the ice, obviously,” said Radke. “But still in spite of that the community still supported us very strongly, the rink was fairly full most games, so they still rallied around our team, which is a good sign.”
He owed much of the support to the give-and-take relationship the team has created with the community since becoming a community-owned franchise.
Fans continued to come out and support the Bobcats in spite of their record, while the the team partnered with 17 different community organizations, including the MS Society, SPCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity.
Players were more prominent in the community as well, visiting schools and taking on coaching roles with various minor hockey teams.
“Since we switched to the community ownership model, the community has really responded to that and I think they realize they have to support us,” added Radke.
Season ticket sales were up in large part due to the hype and excitement of the Hockey Day in Canada, and with the event being pushed back to next year, Radke said he doesn’t expect a drop in sales.
The Bobcats will hold their annual general meeting next week, where the board will meet to discuss the year and what’s in store for the 2013-14 campaign.
“It’s a formality,” said Radke. “So we’ll renew the board members, see if anybody else is interested, change some bylaws around based on the structure of the organization and just report to them the financial reports and operations, how the year went on the ice and what we’re looking forward to for next year.”