Campbell River Storm here to stay

The Campbell River Storm has received the support it was looking for from the Strathcona Regional District to keep the team afloat

The Campbell River Storm has received the support it was looking for from the Strathcona Regional District to keep the team afloat.

Storm owners Kevin and Linda Spooner appealed to the regional district two months ago for help, revealing in a letter that the team was bleeding money.

“The financial burdens of operating this community-minded hockey club are substantial,” Kevin Spooner wrote. “We cannot continue to operate in the red, and without some restructure of our rental agreement we will be forced to cease operations by December 2012.”

But after meeting with the Spooners and the Strathcona Gardens Commission several times over the past couple of months, the regional district announced last Thursday it had come to a new $2,750 per month agreement with the Storm that will allow the franchise to stay in Campbell River.

“Campbell River is a ‘hockey town’ and we’re pleased to work with the Storm to ensure Strathcona Gardens is the home of the Storm for many years to come,” said Andy Adams, chair of the Strathcona Gardens Commission and Campbell River city councillor. “We’ve taken a look at…other Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League franchises and ensured Campbell River is one of the most competitive and attractive places to run a hockey franchise. What we’ve done is provided one of the best rates on the Island. ”

The Storm were asking for a $454 monthly charge for exclusive dressing room access be eliminated and instead included in the Storm’s ice rental fee.

Adams said the new deal accomodates the Storm’s requests.

“The previous fees and charges were very piecemeal and literally all over the map,” Adams said. “It made it difficult for the Storm to know its expenses from one month to the next. (Now) we’ve bundled all the expenses the Storm have, whether it be the office, the dressing room, game ice or practice ice into a bundle and made it a monthly cost. We combined everything and put it into one flat fee.”

Under the old agreement, the Storm paid $81.50 per hour for practice ice and $118 per hour for game ice. Game ice alone would have cost roughly $1,416 per month. The Storm were paying the $454 monthly dressing room fee on top of that, as well as $5,368 a year for advertising – a fee that will be eliminated in the new deal.Adams said under the new agreement, advertising opportunities will be improved.

“The main part of the deal was not only to confirm costs the Storm are already paying and put them together in one package, but also to work with the Storm on charge regulations and bylaws to allow opportunities for the Storm to go out and find more revenues,” he said. “What we’ve done is enabled them to do more. They need to find ways to increase their revenue stream and keep the team viable. And the community has really stepped up with advertising and sponsoring the team which fits in with their slogan, ‘Our town, Our team.’”

The new deal was approved by the Strathcona Gardens Commission last Wednesday and will go before the regional district board on Thursday afternoon for final approval.