Spitfires Financial Records Analyzed

Windsor Spitfire co-owner Warren Rychel admits the team has not been a moneymaker for the last five years. It comes as a lawsuit moves through a Calgary court calling for players in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) to be paid at least minimum wage.

Rychel says the Kitchener Rangers have calculated the net payment to players now including education benefit, billets, equipment and more adds up to over $32,000 a year per player, which is without any taxation. He says a recent road trip to eastern Ontario came with a bill of about $19,000.

"Hotels, the bus, kids have Internet on the bus hotel and you know you can't get anything under $120 so we're booking 20 rooms... there's the trainers, the food the kids eat four meals a day," he says. "It's costly it's way up from when we bought the team in 2006."


Windsor Spitfires GM Warren Rychel fields questions about meeting with his players (photo by AM800's Peter Langille)

Rychel told reporters the team spends around $180,000 a year for the scholarships for former players.

"The education is a big part of it post-career they can go to any institution in the world they want to and we pay. So, a lot of people don't know that part of it the league stepped up in a big way and it helps our student athletes that's for sure."

TSN has received financial accounts from a number of CHL teams, including the Windsor Spitfires, after the Calgary judge unsealed the documents.

The most recent year reported is 2015, when the team had gross revenue of over $4.4-million and expenses of close to $4.5-million for a loss of about $200,000. In the detailed listing, it includes players costs of $290,000; $136,000 for road trips, over $1.6-million in wages and benefits as well as advertising and promotion costs of more than $1.1-million.

When asked by AM800 News for more current financials, the Spitfires referred the matter to the CHL which is representing the teams in the lawsuit.