I cannot predict whether or not Abbotsford will get an AHL hockey franchise.
What I can predict is that if Abbotsford should get an AHL franchise all the financial dealings and contracts between Abbotsford City Council on behalf of the City of Abbotsford, the investors bringing the franchise to the city and the AHL will be buried deep in the bowels of City Hall and securely hidden from the people who will be footing the cost of the required yearly seven-figure subsidies – the beleaguered and impoverished Abbotsford taxpayer.
I can also predict council will have a multitude of excuses for why they will not or cannot release the information that would allow calculation of how many millions of dollars taxpayers will be required to pay to subsidize any AHL team in order to entice that AHL team to locate in Abbotsford.
AHL President David Andrews made it clear that any Abbotsford team will be responsible to fully subsidize teams increased travel costs to travel to Abbotsford for games. The expense of paying this cost will be in addition to the increased travel costs a team located in Abbotsford will face in travelling to away games.
Simple mathematics reveals that covering increased travel costs will require 1 – 2 million dollars a season. Where is that money going to come from? Where else but Abbotsford taxpayers?
There are numerous other costs and subsidies I can think of that could well end up coming out of Abbotsford taxpayer pockets in order to entice a hockey team to Abbotsford.
Which is why full disclosure on all the costs and contracts connected and/or associated with the new arena complex and its operations is required. While it may be publicly embarrassing to leave the new arena dark, it is likely the most economically and financially sound decision to make.
With the economy in the worsening shape it is, the besieged taxpayers of Abbotsford simply cannot afford to pour millions of dollars of operating subsidies into the arena every year on top of the millions paid out in debt and interest repayments for sole purpose of allowing council to save face.