The Olds Grizzlys are in trouble. It’s not the first time, but it may be the last. Thirty-five years and $300,000 of accumulated debt has prompted the Alberta Junior Hockey League to warn of our team’s possible demise.
Olds is not alone. Other community-owned teams in the province are facing red ink and uncertain futures. A ravaged Alberta economy makes matters worse.
A lopsided balance sheet, however, doesn’t reflect what a strong asset we have in our Junior A team. Players offer inspiration and attract adoration from young and not-so-young fans. The Grizzlys have offered a path to the NHL for a few. For many it’s provided the building blocks to succeed as scholars, athletes, business and community leaders.
Dedicated volunteers have always made this often cash-strapped team a success. If volunteer hours could offset cash flow, the Grizzlys would be rich. The team enjoyed a successful run in the 1990s and won the Centennial Cup at home in 1994.
We’d be a weaker community without the Grizzlys. A corporate investor, a re-concerted community effort, restructured debt or ideally a combination of all three is necessary right now.
If you think the Grizzlys are worth saving, you must attend a special town hall meeting Wednesday, May 24 at 7 p.m. at the Olds Sportsplex. Attendance will speak volumes.