By Mike Stackhouse
Terry Shea and the Kindersley Klippers are synonymous.
Shea was one of twelve people involved in securing the Saskatoon Titans franchise and moving them to Kindersley for the 1993-94 season. He’s been involved with the club in various capacities every year since, with 2017-18 marking the first time he’s stepped away and watched from afar.
“There was twelve of us who agreed to take over the club from Saskatoon. They owed about $150,000 and we paid that off and committed to keeping the bills current in Kindersley and that was, basically, it. There was no expansion fee or anything like that,” says Shea.
Shea has been everything from Trainer to Assistant Manager to President to Governor over the course of, almost 25 years. “We started a booster club when we got word there may be a chance of getting a team. When we did get it, we were excited because there were 14 eligible players to come over, but only five of them did and we won ten games that first year.” Ironically, one of the players who didn’t report was Dave Hunchak, who ended up coaching the Klippers to their greatest success, an RBC Cup finals appearance in 2004. “I like to tease him about that every chance I get,” joked Shea.
Shea played an integral role in keeping the team afloat during its low point, which came in 2010 when their home arena sustained serious damage in a fire. “We lost everything. Our equipment, our souvenirs, everything. It was either smoke damaged or gone completely. We held an emergency meeting at the Board level and the Town ended up helping us secure ice in Eston. Larry Wintoneak was our coach and he held a meeting with the players to see how it would go and from there, we took a bus every day for practice and even arranged for our season ticket holders to get on the bus and go to Eston for our games. You can imagine how the expenses escalated as we did that for a year and a half. We even played a couple of playoff series there and had some success in Eston. They treated us very well there and we still have a fan base from there. But, it did cost us a lot of money and the Town (Kindersley) did help us, but they also felt we needed to get out of it on our own too. It wasn’t easy. Going to Eston cost us some of our corporate sponsorship, for obvious reasons, and a couple of years ago I didn’t think we were going to get out of it at all. But, we’ve rebounded to the point where our corporate sponsorship is one of the top three in the league and we don’t owe the bank any money; but there are still bills to pay and we struggle like everyone else. But, it’s come around and we are as strong as we’ve ever been.”