Banman Claims He’s Starting ‘A New Game’ At AESC

By April 15, 2014Abbotsford News, News

New strategic direction anchored on finding revenue-positive tenants, improved operating agreements and increased community access

Submitted. The City of Abbotsford is pro-actively addressing the future of the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre with a new strategic direction entitled “A New Game”, an integrated approach to the development of the facility that is founded on securing revenue-positive anchor tenants, establishing improved operating agreements and increased community access.

Setting out a series of key strategies for the future of the facility as an important regional hub in the Fraser Valley, Mayor Bruce Banman today announced that the initial precursor of “A New
Game” is the departure of the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League effective after
the completion of the 2013/14 regular season and playoffs.

The strategic direction’s major components – most notably the provisions for expanded
community access and the revised terms of engagement with Global Spectrum, the operators
of the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre – will be phased in immediately after the
conclusion of the existing contract between the City of Abbotsford and the Calgary Flames
(Abbotsford Heat of the AHL) as of June 30th, 2014.

A payment of $5.5 million – which is being allocated from the City’s 2014 operating savings and
unappropriated reserves, meaning there will be no property tax impacts – will allow for the
termination of the existing 10-year supply agreement which was struck in 2010 as part of the
launch and establishment of the Abbotsford Heat Hockey Club.

“We have negotiated a termination that will cost the City less than half of what our losses
would be on the basis of projections related to five more years of the AHL team playing here on
the existing 10-year contract,” said Banman, speaking on behalf of Abbotsford City Council.
“There is absolutely no question in our minds that taking this step with the Abbotsford Heat is
the best scenario financially for the City and our ratepayers.”

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