North Stars AGM shows team in strong financial position

By Nathan Kanter
June 27, 2017 - 8:48am

The Battlefords North Stars board of directors flew through their annual general meeting on Monday night, taking just 27 minutes to wrap things up because of how successful this past season was both on and off the ice.

Overall, total revenue increased from $530,626.06 to $541,281.70 but because the club's expenses increased significantly, net income was down by over $70,000. Still, after such a great year financially last season as well, the team still came away with a net income of $9,768.46.

"It was a smooth night tonight. Everything was positive," North Stars president Troy Slywka said. "I can pretty much guarantee we're one of the stronger teams in the league [financially]. We're one that consistenly seems to do well. We're not in as dire straights as some of the other organizations in the league."

The biggest revenue streams for the club are corporate advertising (31 per cent of total revenue this past season), net game day sales (24 per cent of total revenue), and the team's ag project (18 per cent of total revenue).

The largest increases in expenses from last year to this year were roughly $19,000 more in equipment costs, just over $11,000 more in league costs, just under $6,000 more in road trip costs, and just over $4,000 more in scouting costs.

Much of those costs were made possible thanks to last season when the club came away with a net income of $82,364.14.

The team's on-ice success once again translated into strong revenue because of high attendance. The North Stars once again averaged over 900 fans per home game in the regular season, which meant plenty of revenue from game day sales. Net game day revenue from the regular season increased from $111,236.91 in 2015-16 to $130,770.50 this past year. Net season ticket sales added another $59,575.72 in revenue.

The playoff income, however, paled in comparison to last year, despite a championship run. That's because the team's perfect playoff record meant only six home playoff games (they did average over 1,700 fans per playoff home game). Last season, they fell in the semifinals and still had as many home playoff games.

"The financials would have looked a little rosier if we had two more [home] games at least," Slywka said. "But again, it's always nice to go 12-0 too."

Net playoff income was $21,861.29 because of nearly $10,000 in Western Canada Cup costs, but even without those costs that figure is nowhere near last year's net playoff income of $63,429.48. Next year there will be no Western Canada Cup, which means the SJHL champion will be guaranteed at least two more home playoff games because of the return of the Anavet Cup format where the Manitoba Junior Hockey League champion faces the SJHL champion in a best-of-7 series.

Another reason the meeting went by so fast was because there was no coaches report, as former head coach Nate Bedford left the team just last week to return to coach college hockey in Alberta. Slywka said they are already busy with finding a replacement and that the head coach position is the top priority, ahead of assistant coach and trainer, which are also vacant.

"The big one right now is trying to fill the head coach position first and then we can move from there but I think we're on the right track," Slywka said. "We'll get that done sooner rather than later."

The hope is to have a head coach in time for the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame induction banquet on July 22.

Towards the end of the AGM, former North Stars president Stew Demmans, who chaired the meeting, also reminded the board how valuable they are to the team's success, despite not always being recognized for their efforts.

"The board insulates...the coaching staff and the team from all of the stuff going on so the team can focus on doing what they're supposed to do, and that's play hockey well," Demmans said. "So the fact that the team did very well this year, it's got a lot to do with good staff, it's got a lot to do with good players, but it has a heck of lot to do with a good board doing a good job."

Slywka added that he thinks the North Stars board provides a solid foundation for the team because of their openness with one another.

"I just think we have the right people in place and we share ideas," Slywka said. "Everybody is free to say what they want.

"A lot is expected of the board members for everything they do and it's very much appreciated."

 

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