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Dukes’ deal frees up ice time for skaters and teams

By Nicole Kleinsteuber
Prince Edward County Council amended the Wellington Dukes’ contract agreement to a five-year term for the use of the new Wellington and District Community Centre.

Kevin Abrams, representative for the Junior A hockey team, addressed council’s committee of the whole meeting Thursday, requesting a reduced ice time rate of $107 over a 10-year period.

The County’s 2010/11 rates are: Summer Ice $125.72 (all ice prior to Sept 22); Prime Ice $125.72 (weekdays 4pm-mid, all day Saturday and Sunday); Non Prime Ice $ 60.94 (weekdays 7am-4pm); Youth Ice $103.76 (organized youth sports) Junior Ice $115.29 (junior hockey clubs).

“Ten years just seems too far out there and the hockey scene 10 years from now could change,” said councillor Jim Dunlop.  “I think they’re well-covered.  We want them to be here.”

But there was some concern over the reduced ice rates.

“I just think that these ice rates are unnaturally low compared to other areas,” said councillor Janice Maynard.

“Through the negotiation we have freed up more time in the 5 to 6 p.m. slot which the Dukes have been using,” said Abrams.  “By moving them back we have freed up a considerable amount of time that is now available to minor hockey and figure skating.”

Maynard said there are taxpayers who are upset about the $300,000 annual shortfall the arena presents.

“We have a responsibility to get as much revenue out of that arena as possible,” said Maynard.  “Let’s not forget that this team is a business.  We are subsidizing this business to a large extent.”

Abrams said the advantage of the Dukes practicing earlier at 3:30 p.m. allows for additional revenue to be brought it.

“I have allocated that (5-6 p.m.) ice time to other user groups because it’s become available,” said parks and arenas manager, Andrew Morton. “People have accepted it and taken it because people are looking for ice.”

Morton said minor hockey teams have picked up several more hours of ice time and figure skaters have taken some more time too.

Council will revisit the contract annually during budget negotiations.

Filed Under: Local NewsSports & Recreation

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