The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League will be seeking financial assistance from the provincial and federal government in order to continue.
Due to the negative impacts the league’s 20 teams are facing from the COVID-19 pandemic, the league hopes to tap into the $500 million program announced by the federal government that was earmarked for arts, culture and sports organizations.
“Our league has been operating for more than 50 years and our teams make a huge impact in their communities, both on and off the ice,” said KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois, in a news release. “The reality we’re facing now is that without some financial assistance from the government, that may not be able to continue. When it comes to quantifying the negative financial impact on our league and teams, it’s clear we’re feeling the effects in a number of different areas.”
In March, the eight teams still involved in the Teck Cup playoffs lost significant ticket sale revenue upon the cancellation of the remainder of the season. And all 20 clubs are now managing without anticipated proceeds from annual spring tryout camps.
Ryan Parent, general manager of the Revelstoke Grizzlies, said they lost 25 per cent of their annual operating budget.
“When you put all of that together, the impact at the individual team level could very well be in the tens of thousands of dollars,” said Dubois. “And when you factor in all 20 teams in our league, it wouldn’t be a stretch to project an overall impact of a million dollars or more.”
The league consists of 13 community-owned teams and seven privately-owned clubs.
On top of the financial outlook, the league is also keeping close tabs on the latest information from Hockey Canada and the relevant health authorities to determine when its teams can get back to on-ice activities, the news release said.
“We’re hopeful that we can proceed with a full 2020/21 season beginning in September, but there are a number of hurdles to clear before we get to that point,” Dubois said. “We’re thinking positively, because we know everybody involved with our league wants to be back on the ice, but we’re also planning ahead in case the season is delayed, or the financial challenges put us in a spot where plans have to change on the fly.”