Kootenay Ice supporters gathered at the Heritage Inn on Thursday, Oct. 25, for a Town Hall meeting that was called by the Green Bay Committee.
The Green Bay Committee, support of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, engages local businesses to fund blocks of tickets, which are distributed to schools and community organizations — the Reach Out campaign.
More than 200 people attended the meeting —which included stakeholders, residents, and politicians — which kicked off this season’s Reach Out campaign.
“Today was an important day,” said Allan Rella, chair, Green Bay Committee.
“It was a positive day for our community. I think when the Ice review what happened today, I think it’s a really good sign moving forward.”
Post-meeting comments from Cranbrook mayor Lee Pratt. pic.twitter.com/HlIMuqiKoT
— Trevor Crawley (@tcrawls) October 26, 2018
Phase one of the campaign aims to sell 500 more season tickets for the Reach Out season ticket program by Nov. 9.
This program allows children and those who may not have the opportunity to get to an Ice game the ability to attend.
“I think today was another big day in starting the energy [to go] the right way, for a community that can build a RecPlex, attract a team from Edmonton. The task of getting another 5-600 season tickets is doable,” said Rella.
With the large turnout on Thursday, Rella said it was going to bode well for the campaign.
“This community wants this team to stay here … we have a specific plan to increase attendance, which I think every team in this league is wanting to do. I think we are going to be looked at as a role model,” he said.
Phase two of the campaign will see the committee promoting prorated season tickets.
The call for an increase in season tickets comes with the dropping attendance at Ice games. Rella explained that so far there have only been 1,700 season tickets sold, down from 1,900 last year.
According to www.hockeydb.com the attendance for this year is showing a lowering trend, with an average of 2,307 people per game so far this season. Compared to other WHL markets it makes the Ice the lowest, coming in just shy of the Prince Alberta Raiders who are averaging 2,392 fans a game.
Late last week, an article published by the Winnipeg Free Press stated the Kootenay Ice could be on the move to Winnipeg.
At the meeting, this article was addressed by the Green Bay Committee, who noted there was no final commitment to move the team. But more tickets needed to be sold, they reiterated.
“They need more people in the stands, it’s as simple as that,” said Mayor Lee Pratt.
“It’s a business — most businesses have to get a return on their investments. Obviously, with the fan support they are getting right now it’s not a viable operation. So, they need to look for some long-term sustainability, and that’s what they are doing.”
Since the Free Press article was released, the Ice have made no comments in response to the recent Winnipeg Free Press article.
For those who are interested in season tickets, they can call John Hudak, marketing director, Green Bay Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org or (250)-489-9646.
The committee will hold another meeting next week, Nov. 1, 6 p.m. at the Heritage Inn to discuss in further detail the Reach Out program, and to find more sponsors.