Article content continued
There are also financial challenges to consider since WHL revenues are largely driven by ticket sales.
“We’ve had tremendous support from our season-ticket holders buying season tickets for the season ahead, which we’re really thankful for,” Lumbard noted. “Our corporate sponsors are giving us great support as well. Not necessarily in terms of revenue but just in terms of moral support and standing with us for the season ahead saying: ‘We’re going to be there for you once you guys get going again.’ It’s pretty impressive.
“There’s lots of encouragement along the way but there’s no question it’s challenging without revenue.”
The Pats aren’t alone.
These are especially difficult times for community-owned clubs in smaller WHL markets. The Pats are seemingly in a better position to weather the storm under private ownership — Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group — but that doesn’t mean the current situation is sustainable for an indefinite period.
At some point, the show must go on.
“We have some very strong people in our organization that have really done a lot of hard work,” Lumbard said. “There’s lots going on behind the scenes even though we’re not playing and that takes a lot of effort in uncertain times.”
The Pats have already made sacrifices due to the current financial crisis. It starts with pay cuts and layoffs, including the loss of Gord Pritchard, a key behind-the-scenes figure who was promoted last year to director of hockey operations.