NANAIMO — A boat-load more money is required to ensure the Nanaimo Clippers stay in the harbour city.
Andrea Trepanier, CEO of the Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Society, told NanaimoNewsNOW they've raised about $250,000 toward buying the team from the current ownership group. She said while it's unclear how much cash a pending purchasing agreement would require, she suspects at least $400,000 more will be needed by Dec. 1 to keep the BCHL club in Nanaimo.
“They (current owners) would have to have a good idea that the society is going to be successful in that goal, because if the society is not successful then the ownership group needs to have time to decide what their next best options are.”
A group of out-of-town owners, headed by Ken Wagner, continue to own and fund the team.
Trepanier said the hope was for the necessary funds to buy the BCHL team to be raised by now, but said co-owner Ken Wagner and his group have extended a deadline until Dec. 1.
She noted saving the team from moving in the first place, followed by establishing a society, were challenges on their own and took focus away from raising money.
“There was a lot of media coverage right at the beginning and it would have been really great to tap into that, but at that point you're not even formed, you're not a society yet, you can't even take a donation.”
Wagner told NanaimoNewsNOW he's “confident” the society will be able to raise enough money to take over the team. He said the society simply requires time to get organized and build fundraising momentum.
Trepanier said a procedural process means they are likely two years away from running a planned home lottery, seen as a key annual cash-flow option for the team. In the interim, various fundraising plans are in the works, including a corporate banquet in September.
The Nanaimo Clippers nearly sailed out of town after current ownership announced in mid-March the team could move without local owners. A few weeks later a news conference was held to announce a plan to shift the Clippers' ownership under the banner of a community owned, society model.
Trepanier told Nanaimo City Council on Monday night that the current ownership group has absorbed $1.6 million in losses over the past 11 seasons.
She said the budget for the 2017/18 season would be increased to about $960,000 to bolster its sales capabilities and marketing presence.
Trepanier noted the BCHL board of directors are required to approve any pending sale, which won't happen if their society is not on firm financial and organizational footing.
You can donate to the Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Society by going to the team's website and clicking on the Donate Here button on the right side of the main page.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes