Categorized | Sports

Fort Macleod Minor Hockey asks council to open arena in September

Fort Macleod Minor Hockey renewed its pitch to have the ice at Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre available in September.
President Jason Austin and executive member Cole Archibald appeared as a delegation at the Feb. 9 council meeting.
Minor Hockey made a similar pitch last year that was denied by council.
Austin told council there is an opportunity for Minor Hockey to host a Western Hockey League exhibition game as a fund-raiser in September.
Lethbridge Hurricanes approached Minor Hockey with the offer.
“We did have that opportunity last year,” Archibald said. “They’re giving us that opportunity again.”
Minor Hockey would require a commitment from council soon that the ice will be ready in order to get the Hurricanes game set up.
Austin also told council Lethbridge arenas cannot meet the demand for ice time and teams and programs would be prepared to rent ice in Fort Macleod.
“We do have a good ice facility,” Austin said of Fort Macleod’s reputation across the region. “It’s desirable.”
Austin said Minor Hockey would also be able to host a tournament as a fund-raiser to kick off the next season.
Coun. Michael Dyck said one of council’s concerns is the cost of operating the arena during what promises to be a warm month.
Warm weather means the plant works harder, which means the costs are higher, Dyck said.
Austin said the increased costs could be covered by renting the ice to out-of-town teams.
“If it was too pie in the sky and greedy, I wouldn’t be asking,” Austin said.
Archibald agreed, noting the are more teams looking for ice in September than there is time available.
“There isn’t an issue with people wanting to book the ice, pay for the ice,” Archibald said.
Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager David Connauton said staff estimates it would cost an additional $10,000 to have ice in the arena in September.
Connauton also noted staff who normally work in the arena are busy working outside in September, so staffing becomes an issue.
Connauton told council and the delegation the revenue generated from arena rental does not come close to covering operating costs.
The facility is already subsidized by taxpayers, and adding another month increases that burden.
Austin suggested raising the rental rates for September, when elite programs would desire the ice.
“We can establish ourselves as a place that in the first week of September, we’re open for business,” Austin said.
Coun. Keith Trowbridge asked if council agreed to open the arena in September, would Minor Hockey be willing to pay the additional operating costs.
Austin said Minor Hockey wouldn’t pay the costs but would be willing to partner in some other way.
“We’re looking at it as an opportunity for us to fund-raise,” Austin stressed.
Council wanted more information on how much ice time could be rented in September and what revenue that would generate.
It also wanted an up-to-date estimate of the cost of operating the arena in September.
“It’s something was have to consider very seriously,” Coun. Trish Hoskin said.
Council tabled discussion to a future meeting once administration has done some research.

Comments are closed.