Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's Official: Quesnel Millionaires Are For Sale:

BCHL's Quesnel Millionaires are for sale
By Percy Hebert - Quesnel Cariboo Observer

"The Millionaires are for sale," Bob Sales, president of the Quesnel Millionaires hockey team said with a heavy sigh.

Sales made the comment in front of more than 80 Quesnel residents packed into city council chambers to hear the latest information regarding the Multi-Centre project.

"This has made me sick," Sales said after the meeting.

"We're [owners] really bothered by this.

"We got involved because we wanted to keep the team here."

Despite their best intentions and best efforts, the Millionaires owners have lost money for two years in a row. Not helping matters was the economic downturn and the loss of the Williams Lake Timberwolves.

The amount of money lost is not trivial.

"This isn't a little bit of money we're talking about, this is a huge amount of money," he said.

However, Sales was quick to tip his hat to local businesses and volunteers who went out of their way to support the Millionaires.

"They've really done everything they can to support us," Sales said.

The real problem, Sales said, there were too many empty seats on too many nights, this despite "heavy marketing" based on the previous year's playoff run.

"We just can't get anybody to walk into the building," Sales said with a resigned shrug of the shoulders.

"That's our biggest problem.

"One night, after paying security and the referees, we made a $37 deposit," Sales said to highlight the importance of game day ticket sales.

The playoffs, usually the icing on the cake for a sports franchise, were also a disappointment this year, with less than 400 people in the stands.

Following two money-losing seasons, the Mills investors have decided they can no longer continue to add money to the pot and hence the decision to put the team up for sale.

Although the Millionaires are for sale, they have not left town yet and the ownership group are still hopeful they will find a "made in Quesnel" solution.

But it isn't an easy sell, Sales admitted.

Potential owners, interested in keeping the team in Quesnel, have already remarked the state of the Vault and the less than enthusiastic fan support are drawbacks, Sales said.

"We have no firm offers," he said.

The directors of the team are meeting Wednesday night to go over potential options and will then present the best options to the team's investors.

"They'll vote on it and we'll go from there," Sales said.

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