Concerns about the current Kootenay Ice season ticket totals, coupled with the publication of a Winnipeg Free Press story suggesting the Ice may be relocating in the near future, have prompted a local organization to call an urgent “Town Hall” meeting.
The Green Bay Committee has called a meeting of stakeholders — city politicians, service clubs, the media, and other community leaders and Ice supporters — for Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Heritage Inn, at 6 p.m.
The Green Bay Committee, recognizing the social and economic benefits that the Kootenay Ice brings to the community, engages local businesses to fund blocks of tickets that are distributed to schools and community organizations in Cranbrook and other East Kootenay communities.
This season’s campaign will be launched on Thursday, Oct. 25, the same day as the Town Hall meeting.
“We all understand the economic, social and entertainment value that the Ice brings to Cranbrook and the Kootenays,” the Green Bay Committee put forth in an email.
“Like the Ice, we are concerned that the current season ticket total is about 1,700, which is about 200 less than last year. We also understand that the average attendance per game so far is about 500 less than last year.
This Thursday, October 25, the Green Bay Committee will be launching our Campaign to sell 500 Reach Out season tickets by Nov. 9.”
At the Thursday meeting, the Committee will also address an article published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Friday, Oct. 19 — “Winnipeg could Ice another team: Kootenay’s WHL squad may be on the move.”
Free Press columnist Mike Sawatzky cites anonymous sources, who told the Free Press that “… the Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of 2019-20 season.”
Sawatzky discusses the small size of the Cranbrook market, the alleged loss of money in recent years, and declining attendance as factors prompting the move.
Moving the franchise would require two thirds approval in a vote of the Western League’s board of governors.