Cornwall Ontario – With the demise of yet another hockey management team there are rumblings and even a piece written by that mincing lifeguard, Hugo Rodrigues.
Cornwall Ontario is a hockey town. It just has a city government that for whatever reason refuses to allow business to be business.
The subsidies given to the Cornwall Colts have never made sense for the city. Jr Hockey is important, but it’s subsidized by the players paying to play, which ultimately weakens the product. The Colts should be playing at the Benson Centre. Allowing them the control they have at the Civic Complex is a defacto subsidy as they rarely equal attendance, even of the Nationals.
Cornwall is such a hockey town that we’ve had several well meaning and hockey loving owners try to make it a go even when the numbers never really could add up, and the city didn’t support them. And that’s the fundamental problem. One went to the drastic effort of using the Turtle Dome in Akwesasne because of the punitive lack of ability to earn income without rink board ads, and other streams of revenue at the complex.
The current paradigm of playing at the Civic Complex will not allow good ownership to consider setting up shop here so we end up with groups or people losing hundreds of thousands of dollars while eroding fan and sponsor trust.
It’s not about being rich. It’s about having a chance to at least break even which Economic Development and City Hall refused to allow.
The last chance was after the last election when City Hall still gave the Colts the lion’s share of rink board revenues.
A team can work at the Civic Complex, but they need it to be their home. They need all the rink board revenues. They need to be able to earn from beer and other sponsorships.
Recently a major group based in Montreal was kicking tires for a new Minor league team. A member of the group talked to this writer about the local rink as I have former NHL and player history including having worked with one of its leadership group. They decided on another locale, partially because of a really really bad meeting with Economic Development, but primarily because they didn’t feel wanted.
Cornwall is a hockey town, but our leadership is handicapping us and hindering actual business growth.
Luckily there’s an election coming up and it may be time, like Brampton last term, to elect candidates who will clean house of city managers who hold our city back, and try and move our city forward. How many years do you let people fail while employing cronyism, corruption, and bullying before you change things?
In the meanwhile hockey fans here will have to tune into their TV’s or travel to enjoy their sport, but either way the Colts should be moved to the Benson Centre so that the Civic Complex can be turn key ready so as to possibly attract a professional hockey team.
City Hall shouldn’t be in the business of hockey, or sports, but it should create the environment to make it inviting and attractive for investment in our community. Until that happens we’re doomed to repeated failure and a worsening of our community brand.