The cat’s out of the bag!
The Prince George Cougars aren’t moving out of their arena any time soon thanks to a rental renewal with the City.
The franchise will remain the main tenant of the CN Centre through to the end of the 2024-25 Western Hockey League (WHL) season, part of a six-year agreement retroactive to July 31, 2018.
The Cats have played in Prince George’s premier arena since it opened in 1995, a year after the team moved to B.C.’s northern capital in 1994.
“If we go back 25 years, we wanted a WHL team and we wanted them to live here,” said Mayor Lyn Hall at the formal signing this afternoon (June 6). “I always talk about the importance of a WHL team in our community. It's no different than having an NHL franchise in Vancouver; it means the same. [...] This facility is important to the community on a number of levels, but it's also recognized throughout the province and throughout the WHL as the home of the Cougars.”
According to the City, the Cougars bring in ‘important revenue,’ which includes $50,000 each year based on advertising proceeds, all food and beverage sales, general ticket sales, and suite rentals, rather than paying a flat rate for rent.
“We’ve had 2.5 million Cougars fans coming through this building over the years. It means a lot to me to see how much history the Cougars have brought to this town,” said Cougars Vice-President of Business Andy Beesley, believing the team’s relationship with the City of Prince George is one of the best in the league.
“That’s a huge credit for everybody from Mayor Lyn Hall to [City General Manager of Community Services] Rob Whitwham to Glen Mikkelsen and his amazing staff at the CN Centre; we are true partners in every sense of the word. They give some stuff to us, we give some stuff to them, it has nothing to do with our contract, we’re continually doing back-and-forth stuff and it’s really really remarkable to see.”
The previous rental renewal was for five years, which was also a revenue-sharing agreement.
Since that signing, the Cougars have claimed a B.C. Division title in the 2016-17 regular season and saw a Stanley Cup visit courtesy of alumni Brett Connolly.
.@PGCougars VP of Business Andy Beesley speaks to the history the team has had in the CN Centre & says its relationship with the city is one of the best in the entire @TheWHL | #CityOfPG @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/q3BezeINx3— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) June 6, 2019