Hounds financial losses are significant 

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How much has the COVID-19 pandemic cost the Soo Greyhounds?

Having paid their employees despite the delay to the 2020-2021 season, and with plans to continue to pay them moving forward, the Hounds are losing upwards of $50,000 monthly.

While club president Tim Lukenda has been reluctant to discuss financial losses, he did say “yes” when asked by The Sault Star if the franchise’s losses were north of $50,000 per month.

Asked if they were above $60,000 each month, Lukenda refused to be more specific.

During a typical Ontario Hockey League season, play would have started in late September.

However, the pandemic has forced three postponements. The most recent came in late December when the league postponed its planned Feb. 4, 2021, start. No new date has been announced as to when the OHL hopes to begin the 2020-2021 season.

“I don’t want to be specific on it, but it certainly is a financial burden,” Lukenda, the club’s majority owner, admitted. “We don’t have any revenue coming in at all and we continue to have a significant portion of our costs.”


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In other words, salaries.

The Greyhounds continue to remunerate in full general manager Kyle Raftis, head coach John Dean, associate coach Jordan Smith and assistant coach Jamie Tardif, along with hockey operations and business staff members.

“For any sports franchise, a good portion of your costs are fixed, whether you’re playing or not,” Lukenda added.

All OHL teams operate with one main revenue stream: Paying customers. The Soo also earns a much-smaller amount from concessions at GFL Memorial Gardens.

Even if a shortened season is played, it’ll likely take place within nearly-empty arenas, or in hub cities with greatly-limited attendance.

While he did agree to acknowledge the losses, Lukenda stressed how the club “doesn’t expect sympathy from anyone. We realize that all businesses and numerous individuals are going through difficult times in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Hounds president also spoke of his partners, those who operate the OHL’s other 19 teams.

“This has been a significant financial burden for all of the teams,” he said. “At the end of the day, we hope all of them can survive it.”

A member of the OHL’s executive committee of the board of governors, Lukenda said his focus hasn’t been on the club’s financial situation. Instead, he added, it’s been, and always will be, on the Hounds players and fans.

“We’re determined to give them the opportunity to play and watch the game they love,” he said. “I have confidence and appreciate the ongoing efforts of our commissioner (David Branch) and the OHL in their continued discussions in order to find a way to return to play.”

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