Championship run provides a major boost to Raiders finances

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Fans cheer on the Prince Albert Raiders during a playoff game at the Art Hauser Centre.

The packed crowds at the Art Hauser Centre have provided a major boost to the Prince Albert Raiders’ bottom line.

The Western Hockey League franchise announced that they reported of profit of $633,314 over the course of the last fiscal year, which concluded on May 31, during their annual general meeting at the Ches Leach Lounge Tuesday evening.

“Our strategy in many years has been to try and break even during the regular season and then try to make some extra dollars in the playoffs,” Raiders president Gord Broda said.

“We certainly noticed an uptick in our regular season attended by the time we got to Christmas, which allowed us to make some additional profits, and then we just hit a home run with the playoffs run that our team had.”

The Raiders, who reported a loss of $168,430 at last year’s annual general meeting, were able to increase their coffers by bringing in $3,434,963 of revenue during the past fiscal year.

Over a million dollars came in from regular season ticket sales, while the team’s run to their second WHL title brought in $775,844 from those looking to get in the rink.

“The financial success is huge for our long term viability,” Broda said.

“We now have a rainy day fund that we can tuck away for future years.”

Some of the extra funds will be used for improvements behind the scenes, as $14,500 was approved on Tuesday to be used towards the purchase and instillation a new computer coding program that the hockey operations department uses, along with three tablets that will be used for scouting and medical purposes.

The team will also be contributing $100,000 over the next five years for the new score clock at the Art Hauser Centre, which made it’s official debut during Friday’s home opener against the Saskatoon Blades.

“We want to improve the fan experience as much as we can, and the new score clock and the improved lighting in the rink will certainly do that,” Broda said.

“The WHL has been very gracious with giving us some extra time to make the building and improvements and we need to thank the City of Prince Albert for their help as well.”

While the 2018-19 campaign will be one that won’t be forgotten for some time, Tuesday’s meeting also saw a glimpse into what the Raiders hope to do in the future.

“Our goal is to always be a playoff team,” Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt said. “But beyond that, we want to make Prince Albert proud of our team and we do in the community.”