Jamie Harkins Meridian Source
The Lloydminster Bobcats held their AGM at L&L Oilfield on Monday.
The Lloydminster Bobcats enjoyed a reversal of fortunes last season thanks to cuts across the board and the unwavering dedication of their loyal volunteers. However, further challenges lay at hand.
The Bobcats turned the corner financially in 2019-20 ending the fiscal year with a $71,000 surplus. The gain marks a $132,000 difference from 2018-19 when the team recorded a $61,000 loss.
Nigel Dube, head coach and general manager of the Bobcats, said the funds would normally be reinvested back into the team in the form of scouting trips or dressing room upgrades as two examples. He said getting on the right side of the ledger has instead turned into a means of survival due to the COVID-19 pandemic that effectively brought their revenues to zero.
The importance of coming out of the year with a surplus came across loud and clear in a breakdown of financials by team president Brent Mohrbutter during the Bobcats’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) at L&L Oilfield on Monday evening.
Mohrbutter stated the Bobcats would likely be bankrupt or have to sell if they did not move into the black. But, he added the surplus is still not enough to carry them until Christmas should the upcoming season not go ahead.
Dube said they chose not to pursue sponsors during the first few months of the pandemic and instead tried to use the time to reach out and help bring business back to them through initiatives such as the Family Fun Run.
He said a pivot toward enticing sponsors to renew was made on July 1, meaning they had to use their survival fund to cover expenses during May and June, which are the first two months of this fiscal year.
“At the end of the day, we rely on our corporate sponsorships and partnerships to keep junior around as well as our season-ticket holders and our fans,” said Dube, shortly after the AGM was adjourned. “What keeps junior hockey going is the sponsors and your fans. We’re fortunate with the ones we have in Lloydminster. They (provide) great support, so we are going out to our partners, we’re working with them and trying to help them as well as see what the future holds for everybody.”
The team was able to turn a $132,000 difference in financials through cutting 20 per cent of expenses, noted Dube, which included moving to a reduced staff tasked with more responsibilities and expectations.
He said they also leaned heavily on their core of volunteers whose hard work helped bring back a fun and enjoyable atmosphere to the rink during game days.
As the Bobcats AGM came to a close, Mohrbutter acknowledged there are a lot of challenges ahead for the club so the board members may need to be imaginative in order to get the job done.
On the hockey operations side, Dube added the expectation right now is the players will be back in town at the end of August to prepare for a September start to the 2020-21 AJHL season.
“From a coaching standpoint and from a business standpoint, that’s what we’re planning for,” said Dube.
“Until we’re told differently, we’re set to start camp at the beginning of September and we’re looking to kick things off against Spruce Grove on the 18th of September.”
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