Citizen Article - Brodsky Speaks

Citizen Article - Brodsky Speaks

Citizen
Citizen

January 20th, 2006, 4:03 pm #1

Friday, January 20, 2006


Brodsky: 'hate me, but support the kids'
Cougars president says players are worthy of larger crowd counts at CN Centre

by JIM SWANSON, Citizen Sports Editor

Prince George Cougars owner Rick Brodsky has a message for those who may be avoiding CN Centre out of disdain for him — you can hate me all you want, but the players deserve the city's support.
In an interview with The Citizen on Wednesday evening, Brodsky broke a long silence about the attendance woes of the WHL club. The Cougars have the lowest crowd counts in the Western Conference, undercut only by small-market and small-building franchises such as the Prince Albert Raiders, Swift Current Broncos, Moose Jaw Warriors and Brandon Wheat Kings.

"You know, I'd like to get this message across — it's really not the money part that bothers me so much as it's the fact these kids and our staff are working so hard and yet the building is only half-full," said Brodsky, who moved the Cougars to Prince George from Victoria in 1994.

"I think the players who are here are proud to represent the city of Prince George. Forget about the money, and I can look anyone in the eye and mean it when I say it, forget about the money for a second. The players deserve more support, more people in the building cheering them on, than they've been getting. They absolutely deserve it. They have played their asses off. Can you imagine, we win three in a row on the road, tough, tough games, get seven points ahead of Kamloops, then 2,800 people come out to see the top team in the league? Hardly anybody there. I couldn't say much when we were at the bottom, and I'm not saying we're too far from the bottom now the way this division is, but we're nine games over .500, 16-6 at home, it's not like we're not giving them a pretty good product.

"We're not asking people to flog a dead horse. We have a team that is proud to represent them and is playing well."

Three times this season, the Cougars have set new lows for attendance at CN Centre, hitting the bottom in a Wednesday, Jan. 4 game against Kelowna when the announced crowd was 2,453 — under 2,500 for the first time. In reality, less than 2,000 people were in the building because a large number of season ticket holders and suite dwellers didn't show up.

The high-water mark for the season was, not surprisingly, Teddy Bear Toss night on Dec. 17 when 4,170 appeared. For the season, the Cougars are averaging 3,054 through 23 home dates. According to Brodsky, that's 25 per cent short of the team's break-even mark, which brings with it a projected loss of a half-million dollars.

"At one time our break-even was between 3,200 and 3,300 people per game," said Brodsky, who also owns the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the junior A North American Hockey League.

"Because we have not raised ticket prices for so long, the break-even is now 4,000 or just a bit under. One of the things that half drives me nuts is I get the feeling there are still people out there who think I'm making money at this. We haven't made money for quite some time. Now, I don't want to be a hypocrite, when times were good I wasn't going to tell anybody how much money we were making. When times are bad, I'd just as soon not tell them either, except I'd like people to get a little grasp on the size of the losses here.

"Best-case scenario for me is that people would be relatively well-informed what's going on. I'm not going to force anyone to do anything, but if they don't want to have major junior hockey — if there's 3,000 people going, there must be 75,000 staying away. That's too many people staying away. We've done just about everything the organization can think of to get more people in the building, and it's kind of a scary thing when you're playing pretty good and the attendance is going down, not up."

As a private corporation, the Cougars are not required to release profit-loss statements or even divulge the number of season tickets sold. But Brodsky said Wednesday that season ticket numbers have dropped to less than half what they were five or six years ago.

"At our best, we were in excess of 4,000 season tickets, and I would say now that we're somewhere between 1,500 and 1,700," said Brodsky.

"We're trying to double and re-double our efforts in the community. The other point is, you get a chance to see what kind of hockey team we have. I think we have a pretty good hockey team, and it's exciting, too, as far as hockey goes these days. When season ticket numbers go down you keep telling yourself that if you're competitive and put a good product on the ice, you'd be able to attract some walkup. We just haven't been. I mean, 2,400 on a Wednesday against Kelowna? We're playing pretty good and Kelowna's a rival and the defending champs..."

The danger in all this, of course, is that Brodsky's franchise is on pace for revenue totals that will allow the Cougars to enact the opt-out clause in the recently agreed-to lease for CN Centre. The three-year pact lets the club pay a penalty and leave the deal behind — and presumably leave the city behind.

"As we go here, the attendance is going down here, not up, and we were on target to miss it in the first place," said Brodsky.

"Now that attendance is going down more, we're going to miss the target by a bigger amount. For this year, we need to reach ticket revenue of $1.25 million. If we don't reach that on ticket revenue, from exhibition right through playoffs, then we have an opportunity to buy our way out of the lease.

"We can't make it on 3,000, just as simple as that. I have no intention on trying to make it on 3,000 for too long. The only incentive I'd have to move is that we're winning and no one is coming to the games."
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Joined: August 26th, 2004, 5:31 am

January 20th, 2006, 4:05 pm #2

Owner refuses to cut back on hockey-side expenses
by JIM SWANSON
Citizen Sports Editor

Those who are waiting for the owner of the Prince George Cougars to stroll
the concourse, glad-handing the team's fans and chatting about the weather,
will be waiting a long time.
The thermometer in Hell? Well, it hasn't budged.
Rick Brodsky said it's not an aloof attitude, apathy or arrogance. It's
simply the way he is - and he doesn't want that to take away the focus from
the real stars of the show, the players on the ice.
"They'll be waiting a long time for that, it's not my style," Brodsky said
Wednesday, responding to a question about how personally addressing more
fans might help with the team's plummeting attendance.
"It's not arrogance or anything like that. I'm hoping, really, that I don't
have to have much to do with what happens here. I would like it to be the
(players), not me. I think the kids deserve the support, not me. It's funny,
my brother (Saskatoon Blades part-owner Jack Brodsky) went through all that
in Saskatoon and he loves it. I can't do it. I'm going to watch the game,
I'm not going to schmooze with the people during the game like he did,
shaking hands and talking to people walking around the concourse in
SaskPlace, being a good guy and joining the Chamber of Commerce and doing
all that other stuff. You know what? His attendance is no hell either, and
he's got a first-place team. When we were drawing good crowds I wasn't doing
that then, either.
"I don't know the answer, but I want our players to go out in the community.
I know (Cougars business manager Brandi Brodsky) and Dallas (general manager
Thompson) go out a lot, and the players go out, and to me that's what it has
to be all about. I know there are complaints about me living in Kelowna,
this and that, well I spend more time in Prince George than I do in Kelowna.
I guess if it's all about me, we're going to have a tough time here."
Rick Brodsky, a former two-time WHL chairman of the board who has been
involved with the league for more than 25 years, said he wants the people of
Prince George to focus on the players, the team on the ice. He's heard the
criticisms - absentee owner, only in it for a buck, and unwilling to spend
enough money on scouting.
"I don't think it's about me. I think it's about people wanting to buy a
ticket to support the local team and be entertained," said Brodsky.
"I honestly don't even see where I come in on this. I just happen to be
holding the cheques, but that's where I'm having trouble with this being
about me. It wasn't about me when we first came, and it's not about me now.
It's the same old thing, when I was really involved people said if I left
the thing alone they'd be better (on the ice). Now they're saying if I was
here more, they'd be better. So it doesn't matter what you do. There's no
one more grateful than me for the 3,000 people who come to the games, make
no doubt about that. I do want to thank them for that. What's important is
what the team is doing on the ice, not what I'm doing."
That means, Brodsky said, continuing to operate as they have, looking to
grasp that elusive pennant or, better yet, a championship.
"Contrary to what people are saying - and people can say what they say - I
tell Dallas and the people in our office that we're not going to do
different things as a hockey club because people aren't coming in," said
Brodsky.
"It's coming out of my pocket, but we're not going to stop traveling a day
ahead, or we're not going to start cutting costs. It's the natural thing to
do when you're losing money in any business, but it's like cutting your own
throat in the hockey business. What are you going to do, cut out the
scouting because it costs too much? Or stay at (bad) hotels or not feed the
kids right? You can't do any of that stuff, all you can do is keep going."
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Wow
Wow

January 20th, 2006, 4:06 pm #3

Friday, January 20, 2006


Brodsky: 'hate me, but support the kids'
Cougars president says players are worthy of larger crowd counts at CN Centre

by JIM SWANSON, Citizen Sports Editor

Prince George Cougars owner Rick Brodsky has a message for those who may be avoiding CN Centre out of disdain for him — you can hate me all you want, but the players deserve the city's support.
In an interview with The Citizen on Wednesday evening, Brodsky broke a long silence about the attendance woes of the WHL club. The Cougars have the lowest crowd counts in the Western Conference, undercut only by small-market and small-building franchises such as the Prince Albert Raiders, Swift Current Broncos, Moose Jaw Warriors and Brandon Wheat Kings.

"You know, I'd like to get this message across — it's really not the money part that bothers me so much as it's the fact these kids and our staff are working so hard and yet the building is only half-full," said Brodsky, who moved the Cougars to Prince George from Victoria in 1994.

"I think the players who are here are proud to represent the city of Prince George. Forget about the money, and I can look anyone in the eye and mean it when I say it, forget about the money for a second. The players deserve more support, more people in the building cheering them on, than they've been getting. They absolutely deserve it. They have played their asses off. Can you imagine, we win three in a row on the road, tough, tough games, get seven points ahead of Kamloops, then 2,800 people come out to see the top team in the league? Hardly anybody there. I couldn't say much when we were at the bottom, and I'm not saying we're too far from the bottom now the way this division is, but we're nine games over .500, 16-6 at home, it's not like we're not giving them a pretty good product.

"We're not asking people to flog a dead horse. We have a team that is proud to represent them and is playing well."

Three times this season, the Cougars have set new lows for attendance at CN Centre, hitting the bottom in a Wednesday, Jan. 4 game against Kelowna when the announced crowd was 2,453 — under 2,500 for the first time. In reality, less than 2,000 people were in the building because a large number of season ticket holders and suite dwellers didn't show up.

The high-water mark for the season was, not surprisingly, Teddy Bear Toss night on Dec. 17 when 4,170 appeared. For the season, the Cougars are averaging 3,054 through 23 home dates. According to Brodsky, that's 25 per cent short of the team's break-even mark, which brings with it a projected loss of a half-million dollars.

"At one time our break-even was between 3,200 and 3,300 people per game," said Brodsky, who also owns the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the junior A North American Hockey League.

"Because we have not raised ticket prices for so long, the break-even is now 4,000 or just a bit under. One of the things that half drives me nuts is I get the feeling there are still people out there who think I'm making money at this. We haven't made money for quite some time. Now, I don't want to be a hypocrite, when times were good I wasn't going to tell anybody how much money we were making. When times are bad, I'd just as soon not tell them either, except I'd like people to get a little grasp on the size of the losses here.

"Best-case scenario for me is that people would be relatively well-informed what's going on. I'm not going to force anyone to do anything, but if they don't want to have major junior hockey — if there's 3,000 people going, there must be 75,000 staying away. That's too many people staying away. We've done just about everything the organization can think of to get more people in the building, and it's kind of a scary thing when you're playing pretty good and the attendance is going down, not up."

As a private corporation, the Cougars are not required to release profit-loss statements or even divulge the number of season tickets sold. But Brodsky said Wednesday that season ticket numbers have dropped to less than half what they were five or six years ago.

"At our best, we were in excess of 4,000 season tickets, and I would say now that we're somewhere between 1,500 and 1,700," said Brodsky.

"We're trying to double and re-double our efforts in the community. The other point is, you get a chance to see what kind of hockey team we have. I think we have a pretty good hockey team, and it's exciting, too, as far as hockey goes these days. When season ticket numbers go down you keep telling yourself that if you're competitive and put a good product on the ice, you'd be able to attract some walkup. We just haven't been. I mean, 2,400 on a Wednesday against Kelowna? We're playing pretty good and Kelowna's a rival and the defending champs..."

The danger in all this, of course, is that Brodsky's franchise is on pace for revenue totals that will allow the Cougars to enact the opt-out clause in the recently agreed-to lease for CN Centre. The three-year pact lets the club pay a penalty and leave the deal behind — and presumably leave the city behind.

"As we go here, the attendance is going down here, not up, and we were on target to miss it in the first place," said Brodsky.

"Now that attendance is going down more, we're going to miss the target by a bigger amount. For this year, we need to reach ticket revenue of $1.25 million. If we don't reach that on ticket revenue, from exhibition right through playoffs, then we have an opportunity to buy our way out of the lease.

"We can't make it on 3,000, just as simple as that. I have no intention on trying to make it on 3,000 for too long. The only incentive I'd have to move is that we're winning and no one is coming to the games."
Again I am not shocked.

1. If it is not about the money, lower ticket prices or give everyone a freebie!

2. You have tried everything, sure you have, give your promo dept a budget and if they have one, fire them because they suck!

3. The team is going to move if people do not wtach, plain and simple.


SOMEONE else has to BUY this team. NOW! You will miss this hockey when it is gone. Stop just talking about it and do it before it is too late. A grassroots campaign can start now. Everything has a price, including this team.
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BobCougar
BobCougar

January 20th, 2006, 6:10 pm #4

For a business man, Brodski sure uses bad judgement in his public relations management. Comments like "I will not go to the games and schmooze with the patrons," or "I don't see why anyone would feel that the owner living in Kelowna should have a bearing on public perception," are just plain arrogance.

If Brodski wants to win fan support back for this team, there are only two ways to accomplish it, in my opinion:
1)Sell the team to local ownership.
2)Get rid of all the family and friends in the management and scouting depts., and replace them with experienced, successful, hockey people.

Until Brodski realizes this, his attempt to win back the fans will fail. Knowledgeable fans in this market know that the current hockey group is managed directly by Brodski. His lack of hockey smarts will mean that PG will never have a winning franchise. If you want to look at how to run a franchise, look at Kootenay, Vancouver, or Everett. All of these teams have had a shorter life than the PG Cougars however, they have all had alot more success.

The next time you want to explore why PG can't climb the ladder to win even a few rounds of the playoffs, think of a few of these items.
1) Two drunks (Luby and Smart) are running the scouting dept.
2) PG can't even maintain a full compliment of Euro's, let alone find a star.
3) A first overall Thompson draft pick, was not good enough to play on the team (Kerr).

I, for one hope that Brodski moves this team out of Prince George. I don't agree with the doom and gloom mongers who feel that PG will never see another team. With the facility, and the fan base that PG has, another owner will step up to the plate and garner an expansion franchise. All the owners in the WHL know what type of hockey town, and rabid fans are capable in this town. A local group with proper management would be greeted withoverwhelming support.

So Mr. Brodski, quit playing the bluff. Get your sorry XXX out of this town. While leaving, don't let the door hit you in the backside.
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Fatcat
Fatcat

January 20th, 2006, 6:53 pm #5

This is hockey, plain and simple. If you like hockey, go watch it, it's very entertaining. Who cares about the owner, quit acting like he shot your wife and raped your dog. Fans who are not going to the games because of Brodsky being stubborn and missing some awesome hockey. GO COUGARS!
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Cougs101
Cougs101

January 20th, 2006, 7:21 pm #6

Well said FatCat. To hate the Brodski's is one thing but if you wanna watch hockey go watch it. They have nothing to do with watching some good ol' hockey. If you not going to watch some pretty darn good hockey because of who the owner is than you can't like hockey that much in the first place, and in the end it doesn't matter to you whether the team stays, goes, sells...
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SECTION H
SECTION H

January 20th, 2006, 7:28 pm #7

For a business man, Brodski sure uses bad judgement in his public relations management. Comments like "I will not go to the games and schmooze with the patrons," or "I don't see why anyone would feel that the owner living in Kelowna should have a bearing on public perception," are just plain arrogance.

If Brodski wants to win fan support back for this team, there are only two ways to accomplish it, in my opinion:
1)Sell the team to local ownership.
2)Get rid of all the family and friends in the management and scouting depts., and replace them with experienced, successful, hockey people.

Until Brodski realizes this, his attempt to win back the fans will fail. Knowledgeable fans in this market know that the current hockey group is managed directly by Brodski. His lack of hockey smarts will mean that PG will never have a winning franchise. If you want to look at how to run a franchise, look at Kootenay, Vancouver, or Everett. All of these teams have had a shorter life than the PG Cougars however, they have all had alot more success.

The next time you want to explore why PG can't climb the ladder to win even a few rounds of the playoffs, think of a few of these items.
1) Two drunks (Luby and Smart) are running the scouting dept.
2) PG can't even maintain a full compliment of Euro's, let alone find a star.
3) A first overall Thompson draft pick, was not good enough to play on the team (Kerr).

I, for one hope that Brodski moves this team out of Prince George. I don't agree with the doom and gloom mongers who feel that PG will never see another team. With the facility, and the fan base that PG has, another owner will step up to the plate and garner an expansion franchise. All the owners in the WHL know what type of hockey town, and rabid fans are capable in this town. A local group with proper management would be greeted withoverwhelming support.

So Mr. Brodski, quit playing the bluff. Get your sorry XXX out of this town. While leaving, don't let the door hit you in the backside.
ITS PLAIN AND SIMPLE , GO TO THE GAMES OR IN TWO YEARS WE WILL HAVE A EMPTY CN CENTRE . EDMONTON/NANIAMO/ETC ARE ALL LOOKING FOR TEAMS.YOU WILL NEVER SEE MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY IN PG AGAIN.
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yat
yat

January 20th, 2006, 7:30 pm #8

Well said FatCat. To hate the Brodski's is one thing but if you wanna watch hockey go watch it. They have nothing to do with watching some good ol' hockey. If you not going to watch some pretty darn good hockey because of who the owner is than you can't like hockey that much in the first place, and in the end it doesn't matter to you whether the team stays, goes, sells...
like it, or don't. thats what brodksy is saying. no team will be here if fans dont show they want it.
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Chicago
Chicago

January 20th, 2006, 8:23 pm #9

For a business man, Brodski sure uses bad judgement in his public relations management. Comments like "I will not go to the games and schmooze with the patrons," or "I don't see why anyone would feel that the owner living in Kelowna should have a bearing on public perception," are just plain arrogance.

If Brodski wants to win fan support back for this team, there are only two ways to accomplish it, in my opinion:
1)Sell the team to local ownership.
2)Get rid of all the family and friends in the management and scouting depts., and replace them with experienced, successful, hockey people.

Until Brodski realizes this, his attempt to win back the fans will fail. Knowledgeable fans in this market know that the current hockey group is managed directly by Brodski. His lack of hockey smarts will mean that PG will never have a winning franchise. If you want to look at how to run a franchise, look at Kootenay, Vancouver, or Everett. All of these teams have had a shorter life than the PG Cougars however, they have all had alot more success.

The next time you want to explore why PG can't climb the ladder to win even a few rounds of the playoffs, think of a few of these items.
1) Two drunks (Luby and Smart) are running the scouting dept.
2) PG can't even maintain a full compliment of Euro's, let alone find a star.
3) A first overall Thompson draft pick, was not good enough to play on the team (Kerr).

I, for one hope that Brodski moves this team out of Prince George. I don't agree with the doom and gloom mongers who feel that PG will never see another team. With the facility, and the fan base that PG has, another owner will step up to the plate and garner an expansion franchise. All the owners in the WHL know what type of hockey town, and rabid fans are capable in this town. A local group with proper management would be greeted withoverwhelming support.

So Mr. Brodski, quit playing the bluff. Get your sorry XXX out of this town. While leaving, don't let the door hit you in the backside.
Get over it Bobcougar, life is too short. This years team is really good, enjoy it while it lasts. If you don't like them then go watch tier two hockey or nothing at all.
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lappy
lappy

January 20th, 2006, 9:07 pm #10

For a business man, Brodski sure uses bad judgement in his public relations management. Comments like "I will not go to the games and schmooze with the patrons," or "I don't see why anyone would feel that the owner living in Kelowna should have a bearing on public perception," are just plain arrogance.

If Brodski wants to win fan support back for this team, there are only two ways to accomplish it, in my opinion:
1)Sell the team to local ownership.
2)Get rid of all the family and friends in the management and scouting depts., and replace them with experienced, successful, hockey people.

Until Brodski realizes this, his attempt to win back the fans will fail. Knowledgeable fans in this market know that the current hockey group is managed directly by Brodski. His lack of hockey smarts will mean that PG will never have a winning franchise. If you want to look at how to run a franchise, look at Kootenay, Vancouver, or Everett. All of these teams have had a shorter life than the PG Cougars however, they have all had alot more success.

The next time you want to explore why PG can't climb the ladder to win even a few rounds of the playoffs, think of a few of these items.
1) Two drunks (Luby and Smart) are running the scouting dept.
2) PG can't even maintain a full compliment of Euro's, let alone find a star.
3) A first overall Thompson draft pick, was not good enough to play on the team (Kerr).

I, for one hope that Brodski moves this team out of Prince George. I don't agree with the doom and gloom mongers who feel that PG will never see another team. With the facility, and the fan base that PG has, another owner will step up to the plate and garner an expansion franchise. All the owners in the WHL know what type of hockey town, and rabid fans are capable in this town. A local group with proper management would be greeted withoverwhelming support.

So Mr. Brodski, quit playing the bluff. Get your sorry XXX out of this town. While leaving, don't let the door hit you in the backside.
if you cant even spell his name right, u have no respect or right to complain
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