The Swift Current Broncos are a staple of Swift Current and the southwest.
Their organization has been a cornerstone of wintertime fun in the city since their inception in 1967.
But they can only provide the fun they bring to the community so long as they are sustainable year-to-year. The situation this year is off to a shaley start as season ticket sales aren't up to the minimum required for the team to play without worrying about the pocketbook.
Nathan MacDonald, executive VP of business operations for the Broncos, knows just how important ticket sales are to their organization.
"The sustainability of the Broncos and where we need to be to be a sustainable organization, we're looking to get our season ticket numbers up into 1,700 to 1,800 range," said MacDonald. "That number [is the goal] because that's going to be key to maintaining sustainable operations for the Broncos."
The energy in the arena last year was intense, with people chanting 'go Broncos go' and stomping their feet to the music. Some fans cheer the home team, while others jeer the other team with light-hearted jibes and jabs. Kids can always be seen by the glass, watching the top talent in town fly down the ice, hoping to see a goal from a few feet away.
There are lots of reasons people love going out to watch the Broncos, and a big part of that is the fact they are so involved in the community.
"Our goal is to bring the community together around the Broncos," said MacDonald. "That involves a lot of stuff that we can do outside of the rink too."
Whether it's attending school events, fundraisers, or even simple meet and greets, the Broncos players year-after-year make an effort to be a positive force in Swift Current and the surrounding communities in the southwest.
"We do that through entertaining hockey and being that centre point for people to come, get together, socialize, have some fun, cheer for the Broncos, cheer for the same team and help us accomplish our goals on the ice," said MacDonald. "Next year we'll be looking at playoffs and building towards that championship team that I know this community loves to see,"
Indeed last year the Broncos saw five players drafted into the NHL, and another three into the pro camps. This year, they have a lot of young talent they think can propel them upwards to the top of the podium, taking the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
But all that still depends on folks coming out to games, buying tickets, food and drinks, and locking in those season ticket spots.
"Our finances revolve around being sustainable and being here to exist for the community and to benefit the community," said MacDonald.
Season tickets are a big factor in enabling the team to focus on the ice, instead of on making sales. Season tickets right now are on for a deal of $660 until October 1, when prices will jump up for the rest of the year. After October 1, they will be priced at a total cost of $700, so it's a great time to support the Broncos and save a little bit of cash.
The pre-season begins at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Moose Jaw, with the game being broadcast on the Eagle 94.1, with their next pre-season game on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Swift Current at the InnovationPlex.