Many junior hockey teams have been suffering from the financial strains of COVID-19, with some even needing civic government assistance. While the pandemic didn't leave the Bruins untouched, it didn't leave them destitute either, thanks to some hard work over the summer. 

Despite a 2019-20 season that was already difficult financially on several fronts, the Bruins are nearly debt-free. At their annual general meeting this evening, they reported their only debt right now is through a loan from the Canadian Emergency Business Account, which they do not have to start paying back for two years. 

"We were largely an oversight board, and we relied heavily on our GM to put together a budget and present it to us," said Bruins President George Sereggela. "We've been hands-on in terms of budget creation this year, working side by side with the staff to create a budget document that we can live with. We're essentially trying to get to a point where we're not relying on playoff revenue to break even." 

The revenue streams for the Bruins were down almost across the board last year, and with COVID-19 cutting the playoffs short, there was no playoff revenue to make up the shortfall. This forced the board to take a keen interest in the team's finances over the summer. 

"We didn't know if we were going to advance past that round of the playoffs or past that next game and get another home date," Sereggela said. "I think what it did is it forced us to devise and implement a financial plan to get ourselves out of debt. Right now, we have no debt other than that $40,000 emergency business loan."

That season had not been easy on the bottom line for the Bruins, as the team lost $112,505 that year and had a deficit of $120,000. But with some help from groups like Lemon Wedge Marketing, they've attracted new sponsors. They've also, despite no certainty around a start date for the season, managed to attract 500 season ticket holders, which is even more than usual for this time of year. 

"I've said it before and we'll all say it again, we're very fortunate here in Estevan," said Sereggela. "Good times and bad, we have better support than any other organization in this league. Fan support, corporate support, and we're grateful for that. We know people love the Bruins, they love their team." 

Sereggela added that he was worried at first that the impact of the declining price of oil might impact their sponsorship for the coming season, but it's turned out that many local businesses are still behind them.