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County will not be title sponsor for Dukes hockey club

The Wellington Dukes Junior Hockey Club will be celebrating its 35th year with a five-year renewed agreement, but no title sponsorship from the municipality.

Council Tuesday night chose not to honour the team’s recent proposal to become the official naming sponsor of the hockey club in exchange for in-kind ice rentals for the regular season at the Wellington arena.

The team will continue to pay the hourly ice rates for its games, schools, clinics and playoff season.

Councillor Bill Roberts echoed comments made in a public deputation by Gary Mooney, adding he too is a supporter of the team and would also be happy to personally contribute to a fundraising plan should the team launch one. Roberts added  that municipal sponsorship would fly in the face of a council making efforts to reduce costs to taxpayers in a time of economic turmoil.

He  noted he was also ambivalent to support a for-profit enterprise while there is continued need for non-profits as observed in the over-subscribed municipal grants program.

Ice rental revenue for the arena’s operating budget is approximately 75 per cent of the overall community centre’s revenue. The hockey club rental revenue for the regular season averages $41,000, and $7,600 during playoffs. Overall the Dukes generate 13 per cent of the total ice season revenue and 21 per cent of revenue generated among four youth ice user groups (including the Pirates, minor hockey association and skating club).

Five year agreements have been in place since 2011 with minor changes each renewal term. New for the 2023 renewal agreement, the County agrees to provide the north east corner of the upper level of the arena for Dukes fitness programs until a permanent gym facility can be secured.

The Duke will also be entitled to rent out the large advertising space between the ice surface and Task Force lounge.

Removed from the agreement was a security deposit of $10,000 in the form of a letter of credit as the ice rental contract outlines rules for payment.

As the club is privately owned, it has agreed to provide the County with notice of any ownership changes.

Filed Under: Local NewsSports & Recreation

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