The Swift Current Broncos have again found themselves in the black after one of the most exciting seasons in recent history.
The Broncos rode two rounds of playoff hockey to a profit of $135,922 for the 2016-17 season.
“The board of directors would like to thank the fans, sponsors and partners for their loyal support,” said Board of Directors Chairman Trent McCleary in an official team release. “Without you, this team does not exist. We all are eagerly awaiting another exciting and entertaining year of Bronco hockey.”
The team also went from at times sluggish attendance early in the season to an overall increase of 37 fans per game by season's end. They averaged 2,006 fans in 2016-17 and sold out their last seven games.
"Overall, eventually once Christmas came around, attendance started to pick up and it was noticeable," McCleary said. "It's also picked up into the season tickets this year. We've had a lot of season ticket excitement, and it's shown with the numbers."
Season tickets for 2017-18 are up to nearly 1600 with a week and a half to go before their home opener, and a goal of 1700 for the year ahead.
The profit fits a recent trend for the Broncos that has seen net gains in six of the last seven seasons.
Their turnaround came after a nearly $200,000 loss in 2010-11 that created some concern for the future of the franchise. The Broncos then created a new strategic plan and have been profitable almost every season since without an exceptional change at the gate.
Swift Current made a small profit in 2011-12, lost money only due to a big concert that didn't work out in 2012-13 and have made profits over $130,000 in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and this past season.
The profit in 2015-16 came in no small part thanks to $230,000 in revenue from the World Curling Championship. The Broncos were able to get to that same level in 2016-17 without the benefit of those extra funds.
The team from one of the smallest markets in the CHL has managed profits totaling nearly $600,000 in the past four years.
It's certainly a difficult and impressive task for McCleary and the board of directors, who look to balance the budget by breaking even by the end of the regular season.
This means that continuing to advance deep into the WHL playoffs is paramount for the franchise moving forward.
"The expenses are really getting difficult to manage. That's where we're trying to manage the club and get to the break-even point just with the regular season - that's a task in itself," he said. "Of course, if we get to the playoffs, then that's hopefully when we can make some gravy. We need to have a deep run every couple of years just to keep this franchise going."
It's back to on-ice action on Wednesday when the Broncos visit Regina. They don't hit the ice at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex until October 7th against Kootenay.