Town considers $44,000 in UCCU Complex upgrades to accommodate Jr. C team

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The process of bringing a Jr. C hockey team back to Amherstburg is continuing.

Town council authorized administration to continue negotiations on a tenancy agreement to allow the current Kingsville Comets franchise to relocate to Amherstburg for next season. The recreation and culture department was also encouraged to assist in a community “name the team” event in advance of a formal tenancy agreement being finalized.

According to director of recreation and culture Dean Collver, the UCCU Complex would need approximately $44,000 in upgrades to accommodate the potential Jr. C franchise, currently known as the Kingsville Comets.

“We all recognized the complex is outstanding for minor hockey,” said Collver.

However, he noted that Jr. C teams have different needs which include a dressing room capable of housing 23 players ages 16-20 on a permanent basis but also trainer’s facilities and a team office.

“This will be facilitated by the renovation of two dressing rooms in what is currently the visitors hallway adjoining the main rink,” said Collver.

He stated the visitors hallway will now become the home hallway with the current home hallway now being designated for visiting teams.

“While this expanded room will be assigned on a permanent basis to accommodate the junior team, it is understood by all parties that, upon reasonable request and subject to the status of the Jr. C season, the junior team will relinquish the space for use as two dressing rooms for use in tournaments, special events and etc.”

Town Logo Small-webFranchise co-owner Joe Donato said everything the team has done has been with the town in mind and trying to keep costs as manageable as possible. However, he noted the dressing room modifications are necessary.

“We have to have it,” said Donato. “It’s part of it.”

Collver added that a press box will be constructed in the southwest corner of the main ice pad, noting the press box is mandatory to house an online scoring system that is used during Jr. C games.

“This press box will be available for use by minor hockey or figure skating as needed,” he reported to council. “The location of this press box has been chosen due to pre-construction that is already in place to accommodate this upgrade.”

A proper water supply, drainage and electrical hookups will also be needed to house an on-site laundry system for the club. Collver stated the team would supply the washer and dryer.

“This will have an added benefit to the recreation and culture department as it will alleviate the current cost we experience by having to take laundry to LaSalle for laundromat cleaning. Both parties have agreed to a co-operative arrangement that will support this,” stated Collver.

Any work that would occur at the UCCU Complex would be tendered, he added. The money would be recouped during the first two seasons of the club being in Amherstburg.

There would be an additional $17,500 operating costs per season but Collver estimated almost $135,000 in revenues to the town should the agreement with the Jr. C team be finalized.

Gaspare Spada, who joined Donato and general manager/coach Greg Prymack before council, said their goals are to put an entertaining product on the ice while using local talent.

“We feel Amherstburg has the greatest possibility to help us reach those goals,” he said.

Spada said the winner of the upcoming “name the team” contest would be two season tickets.

“The focus of the name will be on the heritage and history of the town,” said Spada.

The team also proposes doing such activities as reading days at elementary schools, hockey camps, coaching clinics and other forms of community outreach.

Game nights would be Sunday and Collver said they hope to get a deal done sooner rather than later to ensure deadlines would be met by September.

“We’re going to be working with great speed to get a deal,” he said.

“I really hope this does go through,” said Councillor Carolyn Davies. “It’s really fabulous for the town. It’s great for our youth and our community spirit.”

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