A City in British Columbia that was once home to the Winnipeg Ice franchise is suing the Western Hockey League and the team, claiming they moved across the prairies years before their agreement was up – costing the city thousands of dollars.
The City of Cranbrook has filed a civil claim filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, saying it is looking to recoup thousands of dollars it lost when the Kootenay Ice Hockey Club transferred to Winnipeg.
The Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice team relocated to Winnipeg before the start of the 2019/20 season, taking on the new name Winnipeg Ice.
The team had been playing in Cranbrook since 1998.
The issue, according to the claim which was filed in December, comes from an agreement between the City of Cranbrook and the WHL team, to exclusively lease the city's arena.
The agreement was set to expire in June of 2023, but that changed when the team made a move across the prairies.
The claim said when the Western Hockey League transferred the Ice franchise from Cranbrook to Winnipeg, it should have been aware it was allegedly breaching the agreement, and that the city would "suffer losses as a consequence."
According to the claim, the City of Cranbrook received $178,333 per year from its agreement with the WHL and Kootenay Ice franchise from the 2013/14 season to the 2018/19 season.
It said the franchise's move from Kootenay to Winnipeg also cost the city $15,167 in one-time expenses.
The City of Cranbrook is now seeking general damages, damages for the lost annual income, special damages including the one-time expense, and any further relief the court "deems just."
As of Tuesday evening, neither the WHL nor the Winnipeg Ice had filed any claims in response. CTV News Winnipeg has reached out to both the WHL and Winnipeg Ice for comment.
None of the allegations in the claim have been tested in court.