Tier II Jr. A hockey team to call the UCCU Complex home


By Ron Giofu

Town council has unanimously given the green light to allow for a Tier II Jr. A hockey team to come to town.

The club will call the UCCU Complex home starting in the 2013-14 season with a slate of 21 home games, not including playoffs. The team is part of the Greater Metro Hockey League (GMHL), a league which currently has 15 teams.

Matt Romaniski, lead principle for the new club, said he is based in Detroit but wanted to put the team in Canada. He had heard of Amherstburg following the construction of the UCCU Complex and when he visited the town, he was “blown away by the ice rink and the town itself.”

The deal only came together in the last few weeks and Romaniski praised director of recreation and culture Dean Collver for his efforts in helping to broker an arrangement to bring the Tier II Jr. A hockey team to town.

“Dean’s been great,” said Romaniski. “He’s the best I’ve ever worked with.”

Romaniski, who has been coaching players since he stopped playing 15 years ago, said his passion is to develop players for the next level, which in this case is likely the NCAA. He has also served as a coach and president of operations in the United States Hockey League (USHL).

One of the goals, he added, was to get a lot of local players from Windsor-Essex County to play for the Tier II Jr. A club. He said teams he has coached have traditionally been involved in the community as well.

“We’re very involved in doing a lot of things to help the community as much as we can,” said Romaniski.

Romaniski added “we really want to make sure the town of Amherstburg and council is behind us.” He added that games and some practices will be held in Amherstburg in the 2013-14 season with the bulk of practices in Michigan.

“I’d like to move the team here in year two,” he stated.

Collver noted he has met with both the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) and Skate Amherstburg on the issue. In a written report, Collver stated “it has been determined that the proposed schedule concept causes very little impact within the current ice schedule.   As such, it can be expected that these games will be accommodated by the incumbent groups.”

Collver noted the proposed home dates would see ten games on Sunday evenings, seven Saturday evening games and four individual weekday evenings over the course of the season. Council agreed with his recommendation that Romaniski’s team be charged $150 per hour for ice time “to meet their budgetary objectives” with an additional surcharge designed to recover additional revenue.

“To ensure that the full hourly rate projected for the 2013/14 season is recovered, that being $174.06 per hour, administration has developed a plan for a $1 per ticket surcharge on all games,” stated Collver. “The surcharge on a season ticket will be $10.50 per season. This surcharge will be deposited in a capital reserve account which benefits all facility users as it may provide funding for upgrades to the complex amenities on a capital project basis.”

Collver believed getting 75 people per game to come out would cover the cost the surcharge is attempting to recover.

“We should be OK,” he told council.

Bringing in a Tier II Jr. A team is a good fit at the UCCU Complex, he added.

“We’re about to create less of an impact than we would with a different type of organization,” said Collver.

Rough numbers estimated by Collver were $40,500 in revenue versus roughly $6,284 in expenses.

“This is what I like to call a game-changer,” stated Mayor Wayne Hurst. “It’s going to bring great hockey to Amherstburg.”

Hurst gave thanks to Romaniski for coming to town and “seeing what Amherstburg has to offer.”

“I guess we’re going to have Hockey Night in Amherstburg, if no one else does,” said Councillor Carolyn Davies, in reference to the ongoing NHL lockout.

“I’m delighted,” Davies added. “It’s going to be great for the town.”

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland was enthusiastic about a new Tier II Jr. A hockey club coming to Amherstburg.

“I’m extremely excited about this,” said Sutherland. “I’m a hockey nut myself. I’ll support this as much as I can. I think it’s great.”

Councillor John Sutton commended Collver for working with existing user groups while Councillor Diane Pouget credited the working relationship between Romaniski and Collver.

“I support this,” said Pouget. “(Collver and Romaniski) just seem to click together. You work so well as a team.”

Councillor Bart DiPasquale called it “great news” while Councillor Bob Pillon said the news “kind of blows me away.

“Dean and I had conversations about moving our complex along and this is it,” said Pillon.

Pillon added the area has a lot of hockey talent and believed many players could find their way to the new club’s roster.

“I think you will find the talent for what you need,” Pillon told Romaniski.

One response to “Tier II Jr. A hockey team to call the UCCU Complex home”

  1. John Graham says:

    Hey when do we get to purchase season tickets for the games available !!!