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Men’s league wins ice-time debate

Prince Edward County Skating Club President Susan Allison addresses council at Tuesday night’s meeting. County council has deferred motion on the ongoing issue surrounding allotment of ice-time at the new Wellington arena until Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. Steve Pettibone photo

UPDATE Sept. 30: The County’s Committee of the Whole voted Thursday to accept a staff recommendation not to change the Wednesday night schedule at the new Wellington arena. The club wanted to move from Picton to Wellington this year, but ice time at the new facility is already booked by the Millpond Men’s hockey league. The matter is to be reviewed again next year.

By Steve Pettibone
Nobody has been frozen out — yet.
The ongoing debate over ice-time in Prince Edward County was front-and-centre at Tuesday night’s council meeting at Shire Hall and several key players in the ongoing issue were present amongst a packed house.
At stake is the allocation of ice-time at the new Wellington and District Community Centre. The main voices in the debate are the Millpond Men’s Hockey League and the Prince Edward County Skating Club — both of whom were represented in the numerous deputations made to council.
The heart of the debate is a block of scheduled time currently used by the hockey league on Wednesday nights — the 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot. Susan Allison, president of the skating club told council the league’s expectation of continued use of this time is unfair to the county’s skaters, who also need ice during that time.
“Men’s league should be playing at nine and 10 p.m., like every other community in Canada,” she said. “Youth sport takes priority; men’s league does not.”
Allison called Wednesdays the “prime day of the week” for the Star Skate program, adding Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights are crucial to the club’s functions.
The Millpond league has been in existence for 40 years, with Wednesday night being its traditional timeslot, but Allison argued organized figure skating has been running in the county since 1965 and the current club deserves a fair shot at the 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. ice-time.
Rhonda Vanderveen, a local Skate Canada official, told council ice-time at the new Wellington arena is crucial to young skaters in order to properly hone the more complex skills in their repertoires.
“Regular access to quality facilities and training equipment, such as the new Wellington arena and its jumping harness, presents an opportunity for growth and development in skating,” she said.
But representatives — including players — for the Millpond league told council the early Wednesday timeslots are crucial to the outfit’s survival due to the need to accommodate the community and family commitments of the players.
“If this is split into two different nights and we have to play from nine to eleven on two different nights, in two different venues, as in Wellington arena one night and Picton the second night, I know for a fact there’s probably 50 per cent of the players that will give up playing,” Fred Knight said. “A lot of them are volunteers — they’re volunteer firefighters, volunteer coaches, managers, assistant coaches and trainers with minor hockey.”
Millpond league president Bob Culter was succinct in his appraisal of the situation. Informing council he had polled the league’s teams, Culter was blunt in his assessment.
“I heard back from six of the eight teams — four of them would fold,” he said. “If you give us two separate nights at nine and 10 [p.m.], the league will fold, no ands, ifs, maybes of buts.”
Council has deferred action on the ice-time debate until Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, at which time a staff report on the issue will be presented.

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  1. Richard Parks says:

    Mike: I think we should do all that we can to support youth activities,especially at the” competetive levels” which the Wednesday time slot is all about. That’s why I supported the skating club.
    I was fortunate to be a member of a Provincial Champion
    Softball team at the age of 18. I didn’t suddenly become
    a good ballplayer at that age. I was coached by a number of adults from a very early age , and my coaches gave up their time and money to help me and lots of other kids succeed. I just think that as adults today, we should be willing to do the same.

  2. Mike Manlow says:

    doesn’t the County have a mandate to support youth sports first?

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