In an effort to boost support for the junior hockey club in the community, the Canmore Eagles have asked for a town councillor to act as liaison with the organization.
President Darryl Lockwood and coach and general manager Andrew Milne were in front of council last week to make the request.
Lockwood said the club is a non-profit society, meaning it is community-owned and community operated.
“Not unlike a number of businesses in our community, we became victim to a downturn in the economy,” he said, adding the organization’s debt accumulated over 15 years is $140,000. “To ensure longevity in our program we are currently seeking individual loans ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to help eliminate current debt and recapitalize moving forward.”
Milne said he feels the club’s objectives align with the Town of Canmore’s Sustainable Economic Development and Tourism Strategy and Mining the Future vision document.
“One of our objectives is to provide the community with 30 evenings of entertainment a year,” he said. “For many Canadians, hockey is more than a sport – it is a way of life.
“Our team travels all over Alberta representing the town of Canmore and our hockey program. We would love nothing more than to have this community rally around our team with a sense of pride and passion.”
Milne said the club is currently in discussions with Canmore Minor Hockey to make a name change from the Ice Cats to the Eagles for continuity of hockey in the community.
He also pointed to plans by the municipality to redevelop the Rec Centre.
“We feel there are a number of opportunities to support the Town in the development of that project moving forward and welcome any conversations,” he said. “We would also like to suggest, if we could, that there be a council liaison to work with our team in the months to come.”
Lockwood said the team is currently worth $500,000 and has had offers from other communities in Alberta.
Its operating budget is over $600,000 and the club relies solely on its ability to sell corporate sponsorship and game tickets to generate revenue.
Lockwood added the objective of the team is to provide a competitive, safe environment for elite hockey players.
“We are a pro-development opportunity for hockey players aged 16 to 20 and assist players in obtaining hockey scholarship opportunities,” he said, adding over the years 10 Eagles have been local hockey players.
Milne said there are five to six players locally right now that may have an opportunity to join the Eagles over the next several years.
He added over the last three years, 16 Eagles players have moved on with full scholarship opportunities.