MEDICINE HAT, AB — Financial statements appear to show the Medicine Hat Tigers earned $205,236 in net income during the 2015/16 hockey Western Hockey League season, according to newly released documents as part of a potential class-action lawsuit.
The information, recorded in unaudited financial records and obtained by CHAT Television, was ordered unsealed earlier this month by Justice Robert Hall in Calgary. Hall will rule on whether to certify a $180 million class-action lawsuit which would allow hundreds of current and former Canadian Hockey League players to seek a minimum wage.
The CHL, which includes the WHL, Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, has said most of its teams either break even or lose money, and paying its players would cause many smaller teams to go out of business.
The CHL has said the players in the league are amateur student athletes, similar to the NCAA or the CCAA, citing scholarships provided to players and the emphasis the league puts on education. The players in the lawsuit argue they are employees and are not making minimum wage.
Lawyers on both sides of the issue have said paying a minimum wage would cost each team roughly $300,000 per year. The 42 teams in the OHL and WHL were ordered by Hall last year to provide five years of financial statements.
CHAT Television attempted to contact the Medicine Hat Tigers for a comment, but were not successful.
According to the Medicine Hat Tigers documents, the team appeared to earn $3,179,839 in revenue for the 2015/16 season, their first season in the Canalta Centre. The records appear to show $2,948,581 in expenses.
The report also features a line which appears to show the Tigers paid $210,045 in rent for their first season at the facility. The Tigers, the city and Canalta Centre management company SMG have long refused to reveal financial details of the lease agreement.
The report for fiscal year 2015, the final year the Tigers played in The Arena, appear to show revenue of $2,980,230, and expenses of $2,621955, leaving $320,100 in net income.
The 2014 fiscal year report appears to show $3,123,463 in revue and $2,864,873 in expenses, showing $229,027 in net income. The report from 2013 appears to show $2,767,567 in revenue, and 2,635,164 in expenses, with net income reported at $113,134.
However, in the 2011/12 season, the report appears to show the team lost money, reporting a $1,353 shortfall.
All five reports are for the fiscal year ending on April 30.