A group of investors has stepped in to help save the Grande Prairie Storm. Headed up by long term board member Murray Toews, they’re committed to making sure the bills are getting paid so the team can get through the end of the season. Swan City Hockey President Chris Luhtala says they’ve essentially become shareholders in the franchise.
“It is a huge relief to know that we don’t have to worry about this team existing anymore. They have that commitment to make sure that we can move forward and I believe with their connections and input and level in the community that they should be able to spike that interest as well and get it flowing again.”
The five have been voted onto the board and will be up for executive positions at the AGM in June, when Toews will take over as president. The Storm announced in January that they were surviving on a week-to-week basis due to debts, needing $200,000 to cover unpaid debts and reach the end of the season.
Finding investors was one of the #SaveOurStorm tiers, and Luhtala says they hope this will be a carbon copy of when the organization was saved in 1995. He adds that they’re essentially now shareholders.
“What they have committed to is that they will make sure that all the bills are getting paid and all that is happening to get through the season and then we’ll revamp what we’re doing in the off-season; hopefully some fundraisers, new ideas. They’re not going to fund the team and everything that goes in is going to be paid back.”
Between online donations from the public and sponsorships, the franchise has raised about $40 to $50,000. Luhtala maintains that community support will still be essential in keeping the franchise afloat and in Grande Prairie.