Junior Hockey clubs in Alberta are struggling financially during the pandemic. With no way of bringing in fans, the province has launched a virtual 50/50 draw to help. Twenty WHL clubs will have the opportunity to offset lost revenues, and as Ainsley O’Riley explains, our local Lethbridge Hurricanes are a part of that group.
Of the five Alberta teams in the Central Division, Lethbridge is the only community owned — during the pandemic this has presented its challenges.
“As you can tell, my palms are sweaty every day for the last little while…trying to figure out ways that we’re going to try to overcome this years financial losses,” says Hurricanes General Manager of Business, Terry Huisman.
The Province announced Monday that the 50/50 draws will run each weekend in March, and will also support the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).
“This is a vital step that will help to see Jr. hockey keep going on in Alberta,” says Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.
Clubs will be required to share a portion of the funds with local charities. Back in January the Saskatchewan government dished out $1M for the Saskatchewan Jr Hockey League (SJHL), and although the lottery won’t guarantee the Canes a specific dollar amount the team is optimistic.
In stadium 50/50 draws of the past have been quite popular for the Hurricanes, and they are hoping to generate that same success in the province’s newest lottery initiative.
“The early buy-in, hopefully people jump on board and realize buy buying this 50/50 what it’s doing to all the communities in Alberta,” adds Huisman.