The Kitchener Rangers posted a profit for the 19th consecutive year despite missing out on lucrative playoff dollars.
The Ontario Hockey League club announced total revenues of $6,329,099 for the 2013-14 season at its annual general meeting Monday night at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate.
After the bills were paid, the team collected a tidy $116,884 profit, about five times more than the previous campaign, even though it failed to qualify for the post-season for the first time in the past five years.
“I guess the thing that we’re most pleased with is the fan support that we had,” said Steve Bienkowski, the team’s chief operating officer and governor. “We did not have a successful year on the ice and luckily that doesn’t happen very often.
“It’s in those down years that the support in the community really steps up and shows you what it is.”
The biggest cash streams continue to come from ticket sales (56 per cent of revenue) and sponsors and other income such as suite rentals (37 per cent), numbers that are almost identical to the previous season.
Merchandise sales from the team’s stores were down 15 per cent — or about $69,000 to $401,082 — from last season, primarily due to missing the playoffs. Still, that retail haul ranks third highest in franchise history.
The Rangers base their budget on regular season play, so post-season cash is a bonus. In 2013, the club collected $316,419 in net revenue from just five playoff home dates.
“It’s significant and that’s normally where we think our surpluses will be,” said Bienkowski. “Those are the years that we try to put that money into our capital funds to use it down the road, so I’d like to get back in the playoffs.”
The team continued to pay down its debt and shaved off about $500,000 to the City of Kitchener. Another $690,000 of the outstanding $9.1 million owed — accumulated to finance the recent seat and building expansion — will be paid off this season. The entire sum is scheduled to be paid by 2028, if not sooner.
Community donations saw the Rangers dish out $478,002, up about $80,000 from the previous season. Those benefitting include Kitchener and Waterloo minor hockey, the Kitchener-Waterloo Rangers women’s hockey team, the Kitchener Boxing Association, Camp McGovern and the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association among others.
Another $1.3 million is tied up in scholarship commitments to current and former players over the next seven years.
The team will spend about $1.8 million this season for a new scoreboard and sound system at the Aud. The City of Kitchener is kicking in an additional $357,000 for the project.
The Rangers’ books were audited by Hemmerich, Flanagan, Kratz, Eamer and McRae and the annual report was presented to subscribers at Monday’s meeting.