Elliot Lake Wildcats of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League remain more than $50,000 in debt to the City of Elliot Lake on an interest-free loan that was slated to be paid in full by the end of this year.
And Wildcats president and treasurer Brad Lees has told Elliot Lake city council that the NOJHL team is currently not in a financial position to make a significant payment on the interest-free loan.
When the Wildcats entered the NOJHL as a community, non-profit team in 2014, it borrowed $96,636 from the City of Elliot Lake with an agreement that the interest-free loan would be repaid by the end of 2018.
The hockey team has repaid $43,363 of the loan thus far but has not made a payment this year.
At a recent city council meeting, Elliot Lake councilor Norm Mann noted that “some form of good faith payment (by the hockey team) is what I’d be looking for at this point.”
The debt that the Wildcats have with the City of Elliot Lake is not the only one that the NOJHL team has, according to its aforementioned president and treasurer. Lees told city council that the Wildcats also borrowed money from another lender and have been servicing that debt while not making payments on the interest-free loan with the City of Elliot Lake.
For that, Lees was chided by councilor Chris Patrie.
“You need to realize you have $50,000 of taxpayer dollars interest free. As councilors, we must respect the taxpayers because it is their money,” Patrie told Lees.
Meantime, Elliot Lake city council spoke in favour of accepting a re-payment agreement with the Wildcats that would have the balance of the money owed repaid by the next municipal election, which is slated for the fall of 2022.
The Wildcats play their home games at city-owned Centennial Arena.