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Hinton Wildcats seek to re-establish lease with Town of Hinton

Masha Scheele

The Hinton Wildcats and the Western Provincial Hockey Association (WPHA) together filed a court application seeking a declaration from the court that their lease of a Town of Hinton facility remains in full force and effect.

Throughout the 2018-2019 junior hockey season, the Hinton Wildcats owned by the WPHA, utilized the Bill Thomson arena in the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre as their home ice facility.

According to the court application filed on June 3, the original lease agreement started on June 27, 2018 and would remain effective until July 31, 2021.

Instead, the Town of Hinton allegedly notified the WPHA on April 1 that their lease agreement was terminated due to delinquent accounts in excess of 90 days.

Within the application, the WPHA claims that unbeknownst to them the Wildcats began accumulating arrears to the facilities landlord and the arrears only came to the attention of a WPHA officer on April 2 through email correspondence with the landlord, in which they deemed the lease agreement void.

Within the application, the WPHA argues that the Town of Hinton did not follow the process laid out within the contract to legally terminate it, stating section 11 in the contract addressed delinquencies in payments by the Wildcats and obligates the landlord to notify the WPHA in writing if the wildcats became more than sixty days delinquent in payments owing and then enter into good-faith negotiations

The section also provides the landlord with the option of suspending or terminating the agreement if the Wildcats become more that ninety days delinquent in the payment of an outstanding balance owing.

According to the application, the landlord lacks the authority under section 11 of the lease to unilaterally deem the lease terminated due to the failure to notify the WPHA when the Wildcats became more than 60 days delinquent in paying its account.

Through the court application, WPHA and Wildcats seek a declaration that the unilateral termination of the lease on April 1 was beyond their legal power.

They also seek an order directing the Town of Hinton to accept payment of any and all overdue balances payable and permit the Hinton Wildcats to utilise the facility according to the terms of the lease.

The WPHA and Hinton Wildcats would like the court to direct the Town of Hinton to refrain from leasing the facility to any third party professional or junior hockey team during the term of the lease, according with the section three non-competition terms within the original contract.

This issue will appear in Edmonton court on July 3, pending further discussion between the parties.

As of noon, Monday, June 17, no dispute has been filed by the Town of Hinton.