April 15, 2014 (ISN) – The owners of the Abbotsford Heat hockey team are expected to address rumours the Calgary Flames farm team will moving to New York, after years of financial losses for the city.
Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. PT with the CEO of the Calgary Flames Ken King, and the president of the Abbotsford Heat Ryan Walter.
In 2009 the city signed a10-year deal with the Heat to guarantee almost $6 million a year in revenue, but the Heat has a tough time filling the city-owned 7,000-seat Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre
The Heat has faced major hurdles winning fans, including a lack of local interest, as most AHL franchises are located in the east, and the team’s affiliation with the Calgary Flames, a rival of the Vancouver Canucks.
With the team pulling in around 2,000 fewer fans per game than the minor hockey league average, taxpayers in Abbotsford have covered $5.4 million in losses in four years, plus the costs associated with owning and running the stadium.
- 2012-13: $1.66 million
- 2011-12: $1.76 million
- 2010-11: $1.37 million
- 2009-10: $450,637
The Heat’s contract with the city lasts until 2019.
Last year the owners of the Vancouver Canucks failed to reach a deal with the city to move their Unica Comets farm team from New York to Abbotsford, but there is now speculation a new deal could be in the works.