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Cranbrook, B.C., suing former hockey team, Western Hockey League over Manitoba move

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER _ The City of Cranbrook, B.C., is suing its former hockey team as well as the Western Hockey League over the team’s departure in 2019.

The Kootenay Ice left for Manitoba before the start of the 2019-20 season, becoming the Winnipeg Ice.

A civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court says both the Ice and WHL are responsible for breaking a deal that was supposed to run through June 2023, costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The city says in its lawsuit the team was paying arena lease fees, a percentage of game receipts, a cut of the club’s advertising revenue and it collected 100 per cent of the parking and concession money.

The claims have not been tested in court, no statements of defence have been filed and neither the Winnipeg Ice nor the WHL could immediately be reached for comment.

The team, which moved to Cranbrook from Edmonton in 1998, won the WHL championship and Memorial Cup in 2002 and also won league titles in 2000 and 2011.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021.