The Nanaimo Clippers are for sale.
The owners of the city’s junior A hockey club decided last month to look into selling the team. Ken Wagner, Clippers governor, said the decision was made collectively by the ownership group at the end of the B.C. Hockey League season.
“It’s been 10 great years, but it’s different interests and different reasons why we’re selling the club,” he said. “Someone local should have that opportunity to take the bull by the horns and have as much fun as we have.”
He and the other owners – Bill Gallacher, Kelly Hrudey and Paul Colborne – live in Alberta and have work and family commitments there.
Wagner said the operations of the Clippers are status quo. The team is working on sponsorships and marketing just like any other off-season and Wagner said the recruiting budget is the same as previous years.
“If we don’t sell the club, nothing’s going to change,” he said. “We’ve just made it public now, to say, hey, if there’s anybody local, or anybody out there that has an interest, this is the best way to get it out there.”
He said it’s too early to tell what sort of interest there will be from potential buyers. The club is worth whatever someone’s prepared to pay for it, Wagner said.
“Anybody who buys a hockey club, they’re not doing it to turn a profit,” he said. “A successful club breaks even and develops kids and wins championships.”
Wagner said he and the other owners have considered themselves stewards of the hockey team, part of the chain of the Clippers’ 42-year history, and are now looking to pass it along. Whoever takes over the club, he said, will inherit a strong program with renewed community support.
“We’re only going to talk to people that we know are two things – they’re in a position financially to buy the club, and the second thing is people that are in the position financially to support the club,” Wagner said. “The worst thing you’d want to do is blow up the program by selling it to an owner that gets caught up in the moment. You’ve got to have someone who can sustain the losses when it’s not so good, but you’ve also got to have someone that is doing it for the right reasons.”