The coronavirus has had a global impact not just from a health and safety perspective, but from an economic one, too.
As the sports world remains at a standstill for two months, tough decisions have been made. People have lost their jobs, taken paycuts and companies have had a shutter their doors. For some businesses, it's temporary. For others, the pandemic has changed the course of some companies forever. And Portland, Oregon, is no exception.
The Trail Blazers' NBA season, Timbers' MLS season and Thorns FC's NWSL season have all been suspended. The Portland Winterhawks' WHL season was cancelled-- and now the consequences are dire.
According to Oregonlive, Portland Winterhawks Inc., the Winterhawks parent company, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy Thursday after owner William Gallacher "allegedly failed to repay money his companies had borrowed in 2018."
Bridging Financing, who reportedly took the Gallacher to court in Toronto, claims it has taken control of several of his companies, which includes the hockey franchise.
Now, a court-appointed receiver has the Winterhawks' fate in its hands.
A receivership could be devastating for the hockey team. The Western Hockey League can terminate a team’s ownership agreement if the franchise enters bankruptcy or is in receivership for more than 10 days. The Winterhawks’ landlord, Rip City Management LLC, can also void the team’s lease to play in the Moda Center and Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. Rip City Management LLC is affiliated with the Trail Blazers.
The receiver said he has no plans to shut down the Winterhawks organization and added that he hopes it will soon return to normal operations.
The WHL said in a statement Sunday that they are aware of the situation and are “working closely with the Receiver and the Winterhawks team management to ensure the smooth transition to new ownership in short order.”
President Doug Piper, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston, and the executive staff will remain with the team.
The Winterhawks arrived in Portland in 1976, having made the WHL Championship series 12 times, and has won the championship three times: 1982, 1998, and 2013. Before the pandemic, the franchise was atop the Western Conference before the abrupt ending of the season.