What's Buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Lethbridge Hurricanes’ future remains up in the air following shareholders meeting

Kelly Friesen
Buzzing The Net

View photo


The Lethbridge Hurricanes' future remains up in the air.

Several concerns surrounding the Lethbridge Hurricanes were brought to light at their shareholders meeting on Feb. 6, but the direction of the organization remains up in the air.

Hurricanes team president Brian McNaughton appeared to send mixed messages during the meeting. For example, early in the meeting he stated “I feel as good about the team now as I have in five years,” yet later on he said “I understand the frustration, none of us are happy with what’s happened.” Lethbridge doesn’t exactly have “good years” in their rearview mirror as they have missed the playoffs the last four seasons, but it still seems ridiculous for McNaughton to say he feels as good about the team now as he has in the last five years. The Hurricanes not only sit in last place in the Eastern Conference with an 11-39-2-3 record, but they also have had a handful of players, including prominent blueliner Ryan Pilon, walk out on the team this year.

The Hurricanes’ poor on-ice product has affected their attendance as they have hit an organization low this year with an average of 2,898 a game. With that, the team’s financial situation remains in tough shape. They are in $100,000 of debt and have lost $1 million in the last five years.

Here is more on the money situation from Lethbridge Global’s Paul Kingsmith.

McNaughton says the club could get back to a break event point by the end of the season despite having lost a million dollars over the last five years.

“The number one reason we’re in a cash crunch is because our attendance is down,” said McNaughton, noting a 12% drop in attendance from last season, ”the first half of our season the attendance is always not great, but this year we weren’t playing very well. We didn’t win a hockey game in October I don’t think, so we didn’t have any people in the building.”

McNaughton backed general manager Brad Robson and head coach Drake Berehowsky despite the team’s dismal success in the first year with them in their respective roles. He wouldn’t comment on assistant coach Brad Lukowich leaving the team, though.

The option of letting a private ownership group take over the locally-owned team seemed to be a popular idea among some of the shareholders.

Despite the applause, McNaughton didn't seem to be high on selling the team. He claimed that there’s never been a purchase offer presented to the club. However, what he failed to state is that he never approached Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg with an opportunity to present an offer when the Hurricances alumni went public with his interest in the team in late October. Instead, McNaughton made it very clear at the time that the organization wasn’t interested in selling the club to Versteeg by telling the Lethbridge Herald 'the team isn’t for sale.'

While Twitter was buzzing with chatter of the shareholders meeting, a handful of Hurricanes alumni, including Carolina Hurricanes prospect Brody Sutter, voiced their opinions in favour of a sale to a private ownership group.

Meanwhile, media members close to the organization let out their frustration with the team’s direction.

As Kingsmith alluded to, one classless shareholder pointed a finger at Hurricanes play-by-play announcer Pat Siedlecki for "telling the score too much during games." Apparently, the shareholder believes Siedlecki shouldn't give fans an accurate description of games over the radio. It's sad when someone as juvenile as this person has a say within a WHL organization.

Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (2)
  • Memphis rolls to 94-68 victory over Louisiana Tech

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Shaq Goodwin had 18 points with 12 rebounds and Memphis rolled to a 94-68 victory over Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 minutes 32 seconds ago
  • Magic hold off late charge from Wolves for 4th straight win

    Magic hold off late charge from Wolves for 4th straight win

    With every nail-biter they pull out, the Orlando Magic believe a little more that those years of struggling are behind them. With every loss at home, the Minnesota Timberwolves grow a little more frustrated that their rebuilding plan isn't moving … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 minutes 36 seconds ago
  • Canadian beer mile specialist Lewis Kent makes appearance on "Ellen"

    Canadian beer mile specialist Lewis Kent makes appearance on "Ellen"

    Lewis Kent can add a world title, and an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to his beer mile resume. The 21-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., won the FloTrack Beer Mile world championships in world-record time Tuesday. Kent ran four minutes … More »

    The Canadian Press - 5 minutes ago
  • Mitchell leads Georgia Tech over Wofford 77-61

    Mitchell leads Georgia Tech over Wofford 77-61

    Charles Mitchell did what he's been doing all along for Georgia Tech by putting up his seventh straight double-double. Transfer guard Adam Smith did what he's been expected to do when he scored 16 points with four 3-pointers. The duo led the … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Timeline of Rio Olympic water testing broken promises

    The Associated Press publishes its first story based on data from five months of viral and bacterial testing of Rio's venues for Olympic water sports. July 31 - The Rio de Janeiro state government and the state environmental agency blast the AP … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago