BCHL hockey is a long way from what it was a year ago, and the Nanaimo Clippers owner can’t wait any longer.
Wes Mussio announced Saturday that the Clippers junior A hockey club is now for sale, posting the news on Facebook and mentioning a lack of support from the provincial government for the BCHL and its franchises.
“It has nothing to do with criticizing Bonnie Henry or the provincial government for lack of funding, it has everything to do with putting out a rationale behind the reason [for selling],” said Mussio.
He hopes that spreading the news that the team is for sale will help lead to better offers, and said he’s had “close to a dozen” inquiries already, with people figuring it’s a fire sale and they can buy low.
Mussio said he promised his wife at the start of the pandemic that he would reassess the hockey club’s situation after a year, and said he doesn’t see a chance of hockey returning as normal, this year, next year, and maybe not even the year after that. He said without fans watching the games, “it’s over” for the Clippers.
“Seventy-five per cent of our business comes from gate receipts. We don’t have TV contracts, we have a limited amount of sponsorship business in a small city…” Mussio said. “So it comes down to the fans and if you don’t have fans in the building, you’re losing a lot of money.”
He said if things change and he gets “surprised pleasantly” and can see a pathway forward, he won’t sell the Clippers, but he has been living Florida of late and has started thinking about buying a hockey team in the U.S.
Mussio has now sold his condo in Nanaimo, but said he loves the city and the Clippers and won’t sell the club to an owner who isn’t worthy.
“I hope an owner or a group of owners can take over and they can withstand heavy losses, but with the lockdowns and all those sort of things that are happening, it’s just not an economically viable business to have…” Mussio said. “You just can’t run a business under these rules, end of story, full stop.”