Officials with the Grande Prairie Storm are hoping to find a silver lining in the upcoming season, despite offering up season ticket holders full refunds on a now very shortened season.
Storm Vice President Chris Millsap says they allowed the sale of season tickets with an asterisk, knowing that the club would possibly be facing the challenges currently in front of them.
“We did our best to prepare our season ticket holders for this eventuality, internally we did not put any money we collected from the sale of season ticket holders into our general revenue,” he says.
“There are just so many moving parts, it became impossible to predict what was going to happen. We did what we thought was best for the team and for our season ticket holders, and ultimately we find ourselves having to take that extraordinary step of saying to our season ticket holders ‘we just can’t accommodate you.”
He says they are still hopeful that restrictions can safely be withdrawn if COVID-19 numbers turn around, but says in the meantime, they continue to converse with multiple levels of government as to what comes next.
“It’s been one challenge after another, and at various levels, we have to take our cue from the provincial and municipal government, and quite frankly the communication has been excellent.”
He adds the one silver lining that may come from the 2020-2021 regular season is the push for more online, and traditional broadcast of games so fans don’t have to fully miss the action.
“It’s a direction we needed to head in any event, but it’s certainly sped up our implementation of increasing our online presence,” Millsap says.
“We are hopeful that we go beyond an online presence and are very soon able to have our games featured on local television.”
A normal Alberta Junior Hockey League season usually sees teams play 60 games apiece, but the COVID-19 shortened season is nearly half that total, with just 32 games officially on the schedule.