Wed May 23

Brandon, MB. – The Brandon Wheat Kings and Keystone Centre are pleased to announce that they have signed a new lease agreement extension that will see the Western Hockey League team play in Westman Communications Group Place for the next five seasons.


The deal, announced Wednesday morning at the Keystone Centre, comes after months of negotiations between the Keystone Centre and Wheat Kings’ owner / Governor / General Manager Kelly McCrimmon.


The previous fifteen year lease is set to expire at the end of this month.


“We are pleased to come to this agreement with the Wheat Kings,” says Keystone Centre General Manager Neil Thomson. “It does mean a significant increase in the revenue for the facility since the last agreement in 1997.”


“Fifteen years is too long of a period between contracts as a lot of conditions change over that period of time,” Thomson went on to say.


“The hockey team is happy to finalize a lease for the next five years,” says McCrimmon. “It is true that we are paying much higher rent in our new agreement. However, in our minds we traded that with various factors. One of our goals in these negotiations was to protect our customers from additional fees. The Keystone Centre was looking for more revenue in the deal and spoke at length about increasing agency fees, implementing a new facility fee and even paid parking.”


“In our minds, we felt that this would not work out for our fan base,” McCrimmon added. “So as a result, those costs were absorbed by us in the framework of this new agreement.”


While financial terms of the new agreement were not disclosed, both sides did say that they will work together to improve the fan experience at Westman Place for western Manitoba hockey fans.


“We have a number of key tenants in the facility and the Wheat Kings are certainly one of them,” Keystone Centre Chairman John Macialek says. “We are thrilled to get this done and we look forward to working with the Wheat Kings over the next five years. This agreement helps the Keystone Centre’s financial situation and will allow us to continue to make good investments in the facility.”


“A key factor in our decision to agree to this new lease is a good faith understanding that there will be capital improvements made in the main arena,” says McCrimmon. “With the exception of the capital improvements made in preparation for the Memorial Cup, there have been no substantial improvements made to the arena during the past fifteen years. As a result, we are far behind WHL standards with regards to arena lighting, seating and sound.”


Now that an agreement has been reached, the hockey club has announced that 2012-13 Season Tickets will go on sale immediately. Fans can stop by the Wheat Kings’ office or call 726-3535 for more information.