The Grizzlys AJHL hockey club held a town hall meeting in Olds recently to outline their business plan for the short and long term. Leaving town is not in their plans for the immediate future but dealing with a huge debt is. We spoke with Jim Ross, acting president of the Grizzlys on the new business plan. Grizzly fans, long-term and new to the community as well as past board members offered suggestions on how to get the club out of debt. Hugh Bodmer a former board member and long time fan since 1990’s, moderated the question and answer session. The common consensus was that the team needs community support to reach its goals in the short and long term.
The organization currently has a debt of approximately $120,000 which is up from the previous year’s debt of $106,500 with a bank balance of $53,000. Up to eighty percent of their revenue is from fundraisers and corporate sponsorships with the balance in ticket sales and game night spending by attendees. The team is owned and operated by the Olds Sportsmens Recreation Association and not the Town of Olds. The club rents the Olds Sports Complex facilities from the Town. With the current business plan and an increase in community support the expectation is that the Olds Grizzlys will be out of debt in three to five years. On the ice, the team has reached the play-offs in recent years but has not advanced to the finals.
The Grizzlys joined the Alberta Junior Hockey League following the 1980-81 season after the Taber Golden Suns franchise moved to Olds. The team enjoyed success in the mid-nineties ultimately winning the Centennial Cup title on home ice in 1994.
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by Dean Owen
May 5, 2014