Cornwall Ontario – As any viewer of CFN could attest I have supported the Cornwall Ontario River Kings in their various incarnations since their inception.
I’ve championed the team and cause to the point of saving the team when Brock Frost tried to dump the team onto Darren Madden, exposing the fraud that eventually had the former City Councilor cop a plea deal with Quebec Courts over his forging of league documents.
Owner Steve Moreau invested a ton of cash into the team. He not only managed the club well, but he covered a lot of the debt incurred to Frost. He paved the future of the team, and only after the community failed to live up to their end of the bargain did he pull the plug. While the fans were optimistic about having a winning season, it simply was not backed up by cash.
Can anyone blame him? Would anyone invest in a team that had the limited revenue sources that the current deal the Kings have in place, all artificially jerry rigged by a city council that has the team’s on ice competitor’s employee (David Murphy who sells ads for the Colts) sitting on?
The Kings would have to draw over 2,000 people per game to break even under this plan which is far higher than the average attendance for LNAH games and about 5 times higher than Cornwall Colts games.
So when Rodney Rivette held an event at his relative’s establishment at the Civic Complex (apparently you might have to be related to a councilor in Cornwall to gain access to commercial activity at the complex) with his plan of asking residents to kick in $500 each for 5 years to buy a share of the team many people shook their head.
After all the Kings, since the end of the last season had all but begged the community for support which at the end generated less than 200 season ticket sales and almost no corporate sponsorship. Nor any from Mr. Rivette. There were no impassioned pleas to the public noticed by this writer from Mr. Rivette to save the team during the off season. Rodney won $25K at a contest the team offered. Did he donate any of that back?
Cornwall has a history of pushing out non local owners in favor of putting one of their own in place.
With a proper deal for the complex this writer has no doubt the Kings could be fiscally sound if not profitable. That would mean a controlling interest in rink space, being allowed to bring in concession deals, proper access to ice time, and yes, some form of financial support from the city as do most other communities support their sports franchises. IE departments with a bag for advertising could support the Kings with ad purchases, etc.
Rodney Rivette is not a team player. I write that after having been on “his” team when we formed the Cornwall Cultural Committee. Our focus at that time was to help save the Port Theatre and turn it into a not for profit/charity (at least the building) so it could be preserved and saved.
Luckily for Cornwall the Sylvain family have done that, but what broke up the committee, other than some dirty politics led by David Muphy’s “special friend” at the time, one Vanessa Regnier, was Mr. Rivette going behind the committee’s back to try and buy the Port with hopes of turning it into a bar.
That’s how Mr. Rivette rolls, and what better way to get elected to council, something he has publicly talked about many times (Rodney says he’d only run once his father retires from politics) than taking a page from the Brock Frost play book and running a hockey team in Cornwall?
When Brock Frost decided to run for politics I wrote:
Brock Frost is to politics what syphilis is to dating.
Mr. Frost purchase of the River Kings (or saving of the team) was considered a catalyst to his victory in the last election even though he missed much of the debates due to his irregular and bizarre behavior during the campaign.
Mr. Rivette’s track record is sketchy with a clear stream of failure. He started an online media way before CFN which folded fairly quickly. He was on the board of Winterfest, which also folded after only a few years. He also is said to have been fired while working for the city many years ago. Rodney also on the city’s cultural committee that stood by silently while the city lost its 36 year old public art gallery, and charity due to city cutting the gallery’s funding to zero.
Mr. Rivette, a musician, didn’t step into the gallery once during that period, even when Legendary Rock photography Barrie Wentzell and his work were exhibited.
The problem in Cornwall Ontario isn’t the team or the fans. It’s the over all way that things roll, the cronyism and corruption.
While it truly would be awesome for the team to be saved, if a sweet heart deal is given to the team only because the son of a city Councillor has taken over, the message we as a community send to the rest of the World is that Cornwall is not a safe place to invest or build. And that’s not a good message.
The next election is less than two years away and it’s time for people to really look at who they vote for and why.
And it’s time for us to not fall for rotted carrots and support initiatives that really don’t make much sense.
It’s time for hustlers and charlatans to be exposed and it’s time for good people to step up to the plate for the good of the community.
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