Some people over the last six weeks that I have been writing about the changes that will come to Junior Hockey, have said I am spreading panic or that I had no idea what I was talking about.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course. However, in this case those people who don’t understand the business of hockey are already being proven wrong.
Tier II teams in Canada are already filing for dormancy or folding completely. At least seven teams will be lost in the next few weeks in Canada that I am aware of. Its likely that there are more teams I am not aware of yet. That is the sobering truth that all of these people who don’t understand the business of hockey need to accept now.
Unfortunately this is not the end of the problems for Tier II. It is likely just the beginning.
More unfortunate is that this is likely just the beginning of problems for Major Junior Hockey, the USHL and the NAHL.
Revenue driven leagues like those mentioned, can not sell season tickets at this point. They can not sell camps, they can not sell advertising.
The United States and Canada have both already said, they do not know when any sports events, concerts and other events involving crowds will be allowed to take place.
There will be a second wave of this virus next fall or winter. We already know this. This is not some guess work, the entire infectious disease scientific community has said it will come back.
If there is no vaccine, these events will either be closed to the public or cancelled once again.
Team owners now are deciding how much financial pain they can withstand through this first wave of the pandemic. Some of them are very close to folding up now, many more will definitely fold up if there is another stoppage, or if they cant resume normal operations soon.
This is the reality of revenue driven hockey. There are no large dollar television contracts. There is not enough revenue in pay per view.
Buying advertising in arenas becomes worthless to team sponsors when there are no fans to see the advertising.
When advertisers can not operate and generate profits they are not spending money on team advertising and sponsorships.
When Owners have profitable business operations who generously fund these teams have their company profits disappear, funding disappears or is greatly reduced.
I hope all of you players and parents are reading this and understand that the road to higher levels of junior hockey has gotten exponentially more difficult to navigate over night.
If you are not prepared for more difficulty and do not have a plan, you will likely be left behind this season.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser