Bandits present improved financial picture at AGM

BROOKS, AB (June 27, 2018) – The Brooks & District Junior ‘A’ Hockey Association, which owns and operates the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), reported continuing improvements to its financial performance at its Annual General Meeting at the Centennial Regional Arena last night.

Highlighted by its best financial result in half a decade, the organization declared a cash surplus before amortization of $45,331. Revenue rose by 8.3%, following up an 8.6% increase the year prior, while expenses rose by only a comparatively small 4.1%.

That budget balance excludes approximately $60,480 in amortized expense for the purchase of the video scoreboard at the CRA, which was paid off fully in 2015.

Not only was it the best balance sheet for the team in five years, but it represents a more than $200,000 positive swing for the organization in the last three years, as it was only two AGMs ago that the  Association declared a more than $155,000 cash deficit which nearly eliminated its reserves entirely.

Those reserves have now returned, but have significant need and room to grow as the organization targets a reserve fund of 50% of annual team expenses.

Advertising revenue rose by a whopping 22.1% in a single year, in a development credited to new Manager of Sales and Marketing Nathan Crosby, who radically improved the organization’s outreach to the local business community. Season ticket sales also rose by 7 percent year-over-year, as the team posted its first yearly increase in average announced attendance since the 2013-14 season.

Significant savings in travel costs were reported for a second straight year, while ticketing costs were also controlled more effectively than in prior years.

Challenges are still present for the organization on the horizon, with rental costs with the City of Brooks increasing by between 3% and 6% next year, after many rates had already risen 18% over the prior three years. At the current pace, it is projected that more than 10% of all money spent by the Bandits next year will go to the City of Brooks.

Fortunately, the AJHL’s decision to maintain its existing divisional structure and schedule in 2018-19 will eliminate a significant expense burden that was expected to take effect next season.

Increased community involvement over the last season was also reported to stakeholders at the meeting, as well as an announcement that a new partnership agreement with Brooks Minor Hockey would likely be announced in the coming months, after the Bandits helped to raise more than $20,000 for BMH over the last three years.

Digitally, the Bandits continued to lead the pack with by far the most visited website in the AJHL, while installations of the team’s mobile app neared the 3,000 mark and the team’s new YouTube channel was viewed more than 87,500 times over the course of the season.

“We are extremely pleased with our ongoing organizational improvement,” said Bandits Business Manager Tyler King. “None of these positive results would be possible without our good fortune to have two of the best office staffers any junior hockey team could hope for. The dedication and true passion for our fans and our community demonstrated by [Office Manager] Terri-Lea Yeaman and [Sales & Marketing Manager] Nathan Crosby are things that I hope our great fan base is able to appreciate.”

“We must also give significant thanks to our Board of Directors and Executive for its ongoing support of our efforts, as well as to our coaching staff for continuing to field teams that are not only entertaining for our fans, but represent our City and community so well.”

The Association acclaimed all four members of its executive to return for another one-year term, with President Paul Seaton entering his tenth year at the helm of the organization. Bert Scholz will return as Vice-President, while Murray Hauck and James Mitchell remain Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.

Incumbent directors-at-large Shawn Lachapelle, Reg Swartz, and Lindsey Lachapelle were acclaimed to new two-year terms on the board, while Mike Ibach, Loretta Scholz, and Duane Perkins will enter the second year of their two-year terms.

The Association offered its gratitude to departing directors Josh Argue and Tyler Willmott, who are stepping aside after this past season. The Board welcomed two new members to the table; Ryan Papaioannou was acclaimed as a director-at-large to serve the one year remaining on Willmott’s term, while Sheila Laverty was acclaimed to serve a new two year term.

The new Board will first meet in mid-July to begin planning for a 2018-19 season in which the Bandits will be hosts of the national Junior A championship tournament, and will aim to continue to proudly promote and represent the City of Brooks and County of Newell.