The Prince George Cougars are affected like every other business by COVID-19.

Even though their next regular-season game is over five months away, as we all know there is uncertainty when not only the Cougars and WHL will play again but when sports will return to some semblance of normalcy.

Andy Beesley (AB) is the Cougars Vice President of Business.

In this week’s Hart Attack (HA) column Andy responds to my questions.

HA:

What are you and your staff doing on a day-to-day basis?

AB:

  • This is a very busy time for our business staff, as we are brainstorming and planning every individual game next season, as until we hear any differently, we are assuming we will be putting on another great season of sports entertainment and we want to be ready.
  • We are also contacting all of our current season members and all of our many sponsors, to say hello and see how everyone is doing.  Despite the uncertainty and difficulty, we are all facing right now, this has been a great time to reconnect and chat with everyone in a way we don’t always have the time to do under normal circumstances.
  • We are also staying connected to our community and doing what we can to help.  For example, we’ve been offering and lending (at our expense) our high-end sanitization machine to the City of PG to use in their spaces.  This is a fairly new piece of equipment we purchased that completely sanitizes our dressing room, but we’ve made it available,  to be used in other areas around the city.

HA:

Have the Cougars reduced their staff? If not, is that something the team is looking at in the future?

AB:

  • We have not reduced our staff.
  • We are not projecting anything into the near future other than our intent on continuing to work hard at planning and preparing everything for next season.
  • The Prince George Cougars ownership has been incredibly supportive of our entire organization and City since they took over in 2014, and this has not changed during the current situation.

HA:

How does a hockey team plan for its next season when there is so much uncertainty about the future?

AB:

  • There is no point in throwing our hands in the air and folding our tents, because none of us knows what the future holds now, or any other time!  Along with the rest of our society, we hope and believe that this current horrible situation is temporary, whether than means a few months or a lot of months, but none the less, there will be a return to some sort of normalcy.
  • There is a huge amount of work that goes into preparing for a season of sports entertainment.  Apart from the huge amount of sponsorship and ticketing preparation we have to do, we treat each and every home game as a separate entity unto itself in terms of ensuring a great night of sports entertainment for our fans.  We, therefore, have 34 individual major ‘shows’ we are putting together, and each and every show requires considerable time to organize.

HA:

Many businesses are concerned financially. Where are the Cougars in that regards?

AB:

  • Along with many other businesses, our revenue streams are at a standstill at this time, with some uncertainty about when we can return to some sort of normal, but with the hope that the situation will improve over the summer months.

HA:

What is the WHL doing to try and help its league teams like the Cougars?

AB:

  • The WHL has been outstanding in their support and leadership of all of our teams.  We have very regular league-wide conference calls to stay connected, to share best practices, and to use everyone’s outstanding collective experience and skills to navigate through these uncertain waters as best as we possibly can.

HA:

What response have the Cougars received from fans and sponsors since the season came to an end?

AB:

  • Our fans and sponsors have been unbelievably supportive and encouraging. Once you take something away, it sometimes causes people to suddenly realize how much they miss it.  If anything, I think that everyone has a deeper understanding and renewed appreciation of having a WHL team in our city, and being able to come out as a community to enjoy PG Cougars games.  Every fan wants to talk about how full our cupboards are of young high-end talent, how encouraged everyone was with how our season ended up on a positive note, and how our upcoming draft is going to continue to fill our dressing room with some of the very best hockey players available.  We’ve had a lot of comments about how much everyone is looking forward to next season and being able to get back to normal.

HA:

What final message would you like to leave?

AB:

  • Our team prides itself on being an important part of the fabric of what makes Prince George a great city to live in. At this time, the best thing we can tell the public and our fans is to do what the medical experts and authorities are telling us to do.  Our players, management and ownership are all closely following the rules of staying home, social distancing, washing our hands, and making whatever sacrifices we need to do in order to help get through this tough situation.  We can’t worry about what we cannot control, however, there is still a lot we CAN control, namely our attitude and effort.  We are pledging to the public and especially our fans that as an organization, we will keep a positive and constructive attitude, and continue to make every effort to support our community in every way we possibly can.

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK

If you’re wondering how far that is, picture a Chicago Bears wide receiver and then imagine where Mitch Trubisky actually threw the pass.

*George Fox University assistant professor John Spencer who recommends 10-foot social distancing

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin will give Tom Brady his #12 and switch to #14. Godwin told the Bucs website that no compensation was involved. No compensation? Chris Godwin is in the last year of a 4-year, $3.2 million deal, Brady just signed a 2-year $50 million guaranteed contract. Has someone checked Chris for concussions?

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

All-Southeastern Conference student-athletes with payoffs of $50,000 a year or less will receive their economic stimulus payments by direct deposit into their offshore or numbered Swiss bank accounts on or about May 15th–all other payments will be made by this method or by check afterwards.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

The New England Patriots plunked down $2 million and used their team plane to fly in 1.2 million N95 devices from Shenzhen, China, to fight the coronavirus in the United States.  Now that’s what you call grabbing the face masks.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE YOU MISS
ED IT:

Petu, a hound in Finland, has been an online hit for playing the piano while singing. Petu’s three favourite dog-related items:

3. Movie – My Life as a Dog;
2. Band – Three Dog Night;  
1. Team – Cincinnati Bengals.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca