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Kings turn a profit in 2018-19, reduce overall debt

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The Dauphin Kings may have fallen short of their on-ice goal last season, but off the ice, it proved to be a good year for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League club.
At the club’s annual general meeting, last Thursday, the Kings announced a profit of $7,274 last season, while at the same time reducing the team’s overall deficit to just over $62,000.
The team reported revenues of $617,329, an increase of more than $14,000 from the previous year.
Fund-raising was down $27,449 from the previous year, but that was expected since the 2018 numbers included money raised from the 50 for 50 campaign.
Sponsorship saw a decrease of $982, but game night revenue ($84,127), other revenue ($30,460) and ticket sales ($129,730) were all up.
Ticket sales increased by more than $24,000 thanks to an increase in attendance of 1,859 spectators from 2017-18.
The Kings had a total of $610,055 in expenses, up from $565,396 in 2018.
Team travel and league fees, referees and other miscellaneous expenses were both down, but all other categories saw an increase. Wages and benefits were $135,479 this season, administration came in at $96,431, advertising was $32,744, billets were $55,295, dressing room was $16,183, equipment came in at $65,824, occupancy was $36,080, player personnel was $23,458 and the home opener was $850.
Kings president Dean Cooley said the club was happy to see attendance was up last season, but added there is room for improvement.
“We do feel like we can grow some more. Our attendance from six, eight, 10 years ago is down. So we want to get back to the levels that we had, putting 800, 900, 1,000 people in a regular season game and packing the arena for playoffs,” he said.
“We certainly do feel we have the right hockey club this year to take a deeper run into the playoffs. And so that should add a lot of attendance, as well.”
The debt reduction, Cooley said, is a little about cash flow and a little about profit.
“If you look at where we were a few years ago to get to the place we are today, we haven’t made that much money. We haven’t made that much profit. But we have been able to manage our cash flow a little better, keep our bills paid and use some money that comes forward early,” he said, citing money raised from season ticket sales in February adds to the bank account and allows the team to keep ahead of its bills.
“We do hope the day comes when we owe no money to anybody and that will make things even easier for the hockey club. We do see opportunities through sponsorship, through fund-raising, through ticket sales to increase the revenues and, hopefully, at some point, show an even larger profit than 7,200 bucks.”
Junior hockey is becoming more and more of a big business, with teams spending more than $600,000 to operate. Teams in other leagues often have budgets in excess of $1 million.
It was pointed out during the meeting, about 80 per cent of the money the team spent was spent locally.
“The billet costs, the bus services, the equipment, obviously renting the recreational facility, most of the money that we spend, we spend locally. So it is an economic driver for Dauphin and that’s a good thing. We’re happy about that,” Cooley said.
Cooley feels the future is looking bright, both on and off the ice.
“We see the Dauphin Kings in two lights. We see it as a business and we see it as a hockey club. And so, hockey operations, we couldn’t be more excited about having Doug Hedley leading our group. Doug is a very dedicated, a very knowledgeable coach. He has a tremendous support system around him of people that are helping him evaluate players and find players. So our hockey operations are in fantastic shape,” he said.
On the business side, Cooley said, there is a board of directors and volunteers working hard to make sure that ends meet.
“That the revenues exceeds the expenses. So I’m very optimistic as to where our team is right now, both on the business and the hockey side,” he said.
The board saw three people - Travis Roos, Daryl Bacon and John Kulchycki - step down, while three others - Ron Hedley, external affairs; Craig Kaminski, game day; and Doug Coughlan, finance - joined the board.
Cooley said the three now former board members worked hard to keep the team going in the direction it is.
“We’re very grateful for those three gentlemen and appreciate the time that they spent,” he said.
As for the three new members, Cooley is looking forward to working with the newcomers.
“We’re thrilled to have all three of those guys added to what is already a great group,” he said.
The Kings have some marketing plans in the works for next season.
One of those, according to director of marketing and media relations Christian Laughland, is Treaty 2 Game, which was a success last season.
Noting that game had more than 1,000 people in attendance, as well as special jerseys, Laughland hopes to see that game become as big as Ukrainian Night.
“Ukrainian Night, the first year, we had lots of things we wanted to tweak. Kind of the same situation now going into year two with Treaty 2, we’ve got things to tweak there. The people that are involved are great people and we want to move it forward and build it and make it even better,” he said.
Laughland said every game can be seen as a fund-raiser for the hockey club.
“We’re just trying to keep the hockey club afloat and we’ve got our debt down now. But Ukrainian Night, Treaty 2 Night, every home game is an important fund-raiser, and those games even more so,” he said.
The Kings start the season on the road, Sept. 20, when they face the Swan Valley Stampeders in Swan River. The Stamps provide the opposition the next night in Dauphin’s home opener at 7:30 p.m. The home opener will also be the first of four Skate with the Kings. The other dates are Nov. 29, Jan. 17 and Feb. 28.
All home games begin at 7:30 p.m., except for two. The Tractor Lotto game, Dec. 8, against the Virden Oil Capitals, and the Christmas game, Dec. 22, against the OCN Blizzard will both begin at 4 p.m.
Treaty 2 Night will be, Dec. 21, when the Kings host the Waywayseecappo Wolverines, while Ukrainian Night will be Jan. 25, against Swan Valley.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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