The Penticton Vees, like all junior hockey teams in B.C., have been doing a lot of losing lately — but not on the scoreboard.
“When this thing is all said and done, we are going to lose half a million dollars,” Penticton Vees general manager Fred Harbinson told Global News.
It’s easy to forget that even at the junior level, the game of hockey is a game of dollars and cents.
“We’re a business,” said Harbinson. “We’re a business like everybody else.”
Junior hockey is a business that hasn’t made a dollar at the gate since last March.
Because of COVID-19 health restrictions in B.C., junior hockey teams can only practice. So the stands are empty, and that means dwindling revenue.
“Overall, we are probably down 70 per cent,” said Harbinson.
So in an effort to stop the bleeding of red ink, the BCHL has partnered with the WHL in approaching the provincial government, again, to request relief funding.
“We’re both in sort of the same boat and we both provide the same service, and we’re hoping our voice is going to be heard,” Harbinson said.
Harbinson hopes the province will come to the table much like Saskatchewan’s government did last Friday, Jan. 15.
Saskatchewan injected $3 million to the province’s five WHL franchises and another $1 million to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).
“This funding will help the teams get to next year for sure, but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what next year brings us,” said SJHL president Bill Chow.
The amount of money the BCHL and WHL are looking for has not been made public.
“We would rather not get the handout,” said Harbinson. “We’d rather work for our money, but we’re not being given that opportunity.”