Has City Hall in Cornwall Ontario Killed the River Kings? February 23, 2014

cornwall river kings bear tossCORNWALL Ontario – The River Kings seem to have been cursed since day one.  First it was Mayor Kilger and the city giving a lease deal to the Cornwall Colts knowing the River Kings were coming to the Civic Complex.   That deal all but made it impossible for the team to have any chance of making money.

Original owner Bernie Villeneuve ended up being forced to sell the team and a new ownership group led by David Small took over for this season with scant weeks to start the season.   Shoeless Joes, whose ownership are part of the partnership has the restaurant listed for sale on the local MLS site.

With little to no budget to work with and a ton of good will from the community including CFN the season has been a wild ride.

Mitch Gagne & Jason Mitchell are no longer with the club and today Mr. Small issued a press release.

With the team struggling financially, the River Kings are turning to the public for some help.

In an effort to help the financially-strapped organization, the team is launching a March Madness Ticket Blitz. Next Saturday, when Saint-Georges comes to town, all tickets will be $5.

The team is looking to break the single-game attendance record in the LNAH. More importantly, the team needs a boost in attendance.

“We are doing everything we possibly can,” said David Small, owner of the River Kings. “Players have been making sacrifices as well to keep this team here,” he said. “They are a great group of guys and they are playing for the love of the game.”

The River Kings were behind the eight-ball to start the season with no advertising deal in place. Obviously, not all revenue streams are available at the moment.

Potential investors are also asked to contact the team if interested. Small can be reached by email at david-small@hotmail.com.

Could Cornwall be losing the positive economic impact of having all those dates filled at the Civic Complex?   Is this the message we want small businesses to consider before deciding to create something in Cornwall?

Mayor Kilger and Mr. Small were unavailable for comment as of press time.  Ironically enough Mayor Kilger is a former NHL ref  and former hockey coach himself.

What do you think Cornwall.  Can the Kings be saved and should the City make up for the damage that they have caused this franchise?  You can post your comments below.


David Small, owner of the River Kings provided the following statement as of 8:56 PM

We will finish the year.  This city’s  players are some of the greatest and classiest guys I have ever met. They truly want this team here and are helping me to do that.

 River Kings


  1. I went once and there were no fights. They bought a sinking ship. No concerns here, move along.

  2. Can’t say I’m not surprised. With no arena advertising income it boils down to season ticket sales and game-day walk up ticket sales for income. And owners / investors are only willing to do so much,. Original owner Bernie Villeneuve reached that point when the city signed the agreement for arena advertising income with the Colts. In regard to Shoeless Joe’s there are too many same type restaurants (family / sports) in such a small area. Scores opening probablly hasn’t helped and with BP opening soon it can’t be good.

  3. {MODERATED} Bob you have to post with your first and last name unless you register by emailing info@cornwallfreenews.com with your name, mailing address, and phone number as well as user id you wish to use.

  4. Get rid of the colts who wants to watch them play i havent been to a colts game in over 10 years bc its not exciting where the river kings are i would never pay to go watxh colts hockey or wven go for free not worth it river kings hockey way better to watch

  5. Cornwall has population of about 46,000 in the city with an additional 12,000 in South Stormont. We have about 44% of them which are employed. 21.1% of them are in low income positions. Where do they find the money to attend either a Colts game or Riverkings game?

    Cornwall use to house Howard Smith, Courtaulds, BASF, Canadian Industries Limited (CIL), Pioneer just to name a few and we only had the Cornwall Royals. How can you blame the local government for a failing business if people cannot afford them or if for the most part people have no interest?

    I haven’t been to a hockey game in Cornwall since the Colts played in the arena, and that was because hubby had free tickets. The place was empty!!!

    I can only imagine how full either team makes the complex.

    I think we could find better and more economically beneficial issues to push council for rather than mere entertainment

    Is it really the cities problem? Or are you simply trying to stir the pot.

  6. Author

    Hailey I wrote about this before the team was sold. Why on earth would the city give the Colts a new exclusive contract knowing that another team was signing on to use the civic complex?

    The Kings sold more tickets than the Colts. Surely they deserve a share of the board and rink advertising and sources of revenue, especially if they are paying full rate for rental.

    This isn’t about politics. This is about how Cornwall conducts business. And that has to change.

  7. The River kings are in a division or style of hockey that is not known for hockey talent or ability. It consists of primarily former NHL enforcers not real hockey players. Mario Roberge whose best season was 4 goals and 4 assists in 50 games, Donald Brashear just to name a couple of the LNAH stars.

    The colts or the OJHL, allow me to quote from a hockey journal “As of July 2013, the TheHockeyWriters.com lists the OJHL as the 7th best developmental league, professional or amateur” meaning they produce hockey players.

    Where is the accreditation of any sort on LNAH?

    It is actually kind of Ironic that you claim Bob Peters and Bob Kilger and company are running the business poorly, yet this type of hockey, simply put, is the site of a mill town image and you support it.

    No need to be good just show up and citizens of Cornwall will settle for what you offer. Which is again seeming contradictory to what you want to change?

  8. Author

    Hailey based on the public’s choice of buying tickets they clearly support and enjoy the Kings. They draw more than the Colts. They play a large chunk of games at the rink with no discount. They deserve to be treated fairly. IT’s that simple. I don’t like Country music much; it doesn’t mean that other don’t. Your argument is lame.

  9. @ Jamie. If you don’t like country music, you indeed have no soul! Shame on you!
    Just kidding. 🙂

  10. Admin
    This is the first year for the River kings on LNAH site, and you think it would be a sound decision to hand them over the controlling reins from the colts just because they drew a big crowd to watch fights? Where is there rating in the standing? How far up from the basement are they sitting? Have they proven themselves?

    What happened to our last team that was in a division with the same lack of sporting mentality, I am not sure what they were called but we went to one game and left just after the puck dropped. Nobody even started playing and they fought.

    What happens after the novelty wears off and more industry closes, where do you want them to get money to bail out two teams?

    Blame council for that too?

    You may not like country music but would you still promote it if it was pure crap just because people attended?

    Or would you look to maintain some form of quality in what you as a leader provide for your citizens?

    The LNAH even states the quality of hockey needs to change “Today the LNAH has changed, and wants the leagues reputation to change also. The league wants players to develop from this league and move on to a higher level of play. The players are skilled and do compare to the other professional leagues and they are drawing players back from the other professional leagues.”

    Notice it still says “wants” to change the reputation.

  11. Hailey Brown going out to a hockey game alone or with your partner or the kids at a decent price you cant beat the river king its affordable cant go to a movie or a play for that price in this town with the money the people in this town make

  12. Author

    Well Furtz on those occasions when I drink certain beverages I don’t mind some old school country; but one of my first jobs way back as a kid in 1982 was working overnights at CJET in SMiths Falls playing country 8 hours a night. That’s just way too much twang…

  13. Author

    Hailey why give the Colts a 3 year deal on the rink knowing you had a new cash on the table tenant. That’s just plain bad management.

  14. Dear mr Jamie
    You had this story up last night before the Daytona Nascar race was over
    Today the sports writer at the Freeholder puts up a story that makes it seem to be a big scoop
    that he just learned about the Kings financial plight. Give me a break
    Thats about as Lame as Fox News reporting on Jimmy Johnson winning the Daytona 500 because
    there was a rain delay and Fox sports ran last years race…guess even the parent company wasn’t paying attention..and neither it seems was the Freeholder sports writer
    Don’t think its a news scoop when the Owner starts begging for money…Not quite sure how he felt he could survive knowing he faced the same issues with city hall that drown the last owner?????

  15. hey jamie all that C/W did you get your wife back ….its a joke lol lol

  16. Admin
    Bad management is giving out money on something that has proven to fail at least three times in the past and something that is not doing all too well with regards to the Colts. Cornwall Royals, Cornwall Aces and whatever that other team was from the Quebec league or the fight league.

    What would you have said if they did hand out concessions to the Kings and they died?

    Let them prove themselves before investing anything.

    I understand what you are saying about costs, they are just out of control. What do you think will happen if concession/contracts are given to the Kings by the city and what will happens if the league actually changes to a quality sport? You can surely kiss your family night out off the records because somebody is always there with a hand open if things are really working great.

  17. Author

    Hailey are you spinning fake info on purpose? The city didn’t give the Colts or Kings anything. What they did was allow the Colts to have 100% of key revenues knowing in advance they had a large tenant coming in. There should be one price for using the complex and the revenue sharing should be representative. If you don’t support that there’s something severely wrong with you.

  18. Spinning fake?
    Isn’t concessions or contracts what “allow the Colts to have 100% of key revenues”

    Spinning fake would refer to someone assuming they “they had a large tenant coming in” with out first interviewing the tenants references

  19. Hailey Brown positive thinking how would you fix this

  20. Author

    Hailey the references of the tenants have no bearing on this point. They weren’t asking for credit. They were asking for a reasonable ability to get a return on their investment in choosing Cornwall and the Civic Complex to hold their 20+ games per season.

    Do you think the Civic Complex will benefit if the team folds? I certainly do not. We need to attract business to Cornwall; not kill it simply because they’re not friends with the right people at City Hall…

  21. @ Jamie, and off topic. I remember CJET in the 80s. They (you) played the cheesy country schlock that gives country music a bad name. There’s no end of excellent country music, old and new, but you won’t hear it on any commercial radio stations.
    Now, if the River Kings were to trade in their skates and sticks for some decent Fender guitars, I’d pay to hear them play.

  22. Author

    My first night there my date had dropped acid in our drinks without telling me. I was yelled at for playing the Doors on CJET at 2 in the morning…. my bonus after working there a few months was to get shifts at Q101 where I could play Mellow Rock with a Touch of Gold 😉

  23. Ha! Never dropped acid in “The Falls” but I bet it would be a hoot! The only thing worse than mellow (flaccid) rock would be found on an Anne Murray Christmas album.
    Back to hockey…..

  24. Author

    We use to use aerosol cans and ciggy lighters and burn Anne Murray records while they were playing. It was the coolest thing watching the vinyl spin and burn. Of course we did go through a lot of stylus’ on the old McCurdy Turntables…. Btw, I did not drop the acid; it was slipped in my drink and didn’t know until she called me in the studio later. Those wacky 80’s chicks!

  25. to Admin….the comment re: burning the records while playing still has me laughing

    a fair deal for the Colts as well as the RiverKings is the right way to handle this situation…..with a good hockey facility it is crazy not to fill it as often as possible…..games create traffic in your City and the money spent for a Hockey Night out benefits everyone..I think your City Fathers are missing the boat, as well as being unfair to the RiverKings ownership group

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