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  #261  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 1:46 PM
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From Today's Windsor Star: Ice Track Fallout

AHL team could be in new Tecumseh arena by 2008
Ice Track buys Cincinnati franchise; must affiliate with NHL team

Jim Parker and Roseann Danese, Windsor Star
Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Windsor's Ice Track Corporation has made a deal for the American Hockey League's Cincinnati franchise and hopes to have the team playing in a Tecumseh arena by 2008.

The sale was granted conditional approval by the American Hockey League's board of governors Monday.

The approval comes on the heels of a $55-million deal announced by the Ice Track Corporation Friday that will see Windsor Raceway and its millions of dollars in slot machine revenue move to a new location in Tecumseh, which will also feature a new 6,500-seat arena.

Christopher Kruba, a lawyer representing the Ice Track Corporation, said Monday the sale of the AHL team is based on a number of standard conditions that must be met.

One of those involves striking an affiliation with an NHL team. Edmonton, Colorado and Florida all have "dual affiliations" and can send players to more than one AHL team.

"I would think they would be the ones the AHL will encourage us to pursue discussions with," Kruba said.

Kruba said the owners hope to have the AHL franchise --which has been dormant since the end of the 2004-05 season -- on the ice for the 2008-09 season.

That would put the new minor-league franchise in competition with the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires.

Kruba said the Ice Track owners are still willing to negotiate with the Spitfires.

"We'd certainly have discussions with them if they contacted us," Kruba said of the Spitfires. "We aren't the ones who cut off discussions."

The Ice Track project is being spearheaded by the family of industrialist Tony Toldo, the Rosati construction family and the former Jebb group of David Batten, John Yates and ex-NHLer Eddie Mio,

Kruba said the Ice Track facility would be viable with two hockey franchises -- one in the AHL, the other in the OHL.

"That was our argument," he said. "It was our belief two teams could be sustained in the one facility."

Kruba said his clients believe the new AHL team can draw fans from Windsor and Essex County, as well as Michigan.

"We think the demographics are there for another hockey franchise in this area. I think it's going to be a great regional team."

City council will meet Wednesday to discuss its own 6,500-seat arena project in east Windsor with PCR Contractors Inc. and the Collavino construction family.

Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel said Monday he still favours the east-end project.

"That's fine," Rychel said when informed of the AHL deal in Tecumseh. "This doesn't change our business plan one bit."

Canadian Hockey League president Dave Branch, who was in Windsor Monday to discuss the arena proposals with Spitfires' management, said the OHL's brand of hockey stacks up favourably.

"It's family affordable and you get rivalries that come into play," Branch said. "I'm sure there's some intrigue (with the AHL), but in the long term I'm sure the Spitfires and the OHL will stand the test of time."

Mayor Eddie Francis said city council will continue to focus on "Windsor priorities."

He said the city still needs to replace Riverside and Adstoll arenas and find a home for the Spitfires.

"I feel strongly and I feel passionately about the need to maintain the OHL team in the city of Windsor," he said. "They're entrenched in this community."

Francis said a business case can be made for a new arena complex on the east side. Riverside and Adstoll arenas, as well as Windsor Arena, together lose about $500,000 a year, the mayor said. But a consolidated operation would turn those losses into profits of about $500,000 a year.

The cost of the new east end arena has been estimated to be about $50 million, but that does not include land costs. Francis said a site has not yet been determined.

AHL president and CEO David Andrews said Monday the league is "hopeful the (Tecumseh) project moves forward."

The Cincinnati franchise -- which used to be affiliated with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks -- is owned by Gardens Hockey Inc. A call to president Peter Robinson was not returned Monday.

Andrews put the average price for an AHL team at between $3 million and $5 million. The average operating budget is between $2.5 million and $3 million.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE

History: The AHL has been operating since 1936 and is the top development league for the National Hockey League. More than 80 per cent of today's NHL players played in the AHL.

Active franchises: 27 current franchises.

Attendance: Drew 6.3 million in 2005-06 for an average of just over 3,286 per game.

AHL ticket prices for Canadian teams: Hamilton Bulldogs -- Seats are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students.

Toronto Marlies -- Tickets range from $18 to $54.

Manitoba Moose -- Tickets range from $13 to $31.

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #262  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 1:47 PM
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More Ice Track

Tough road for AHL in Canada

Bob Duff, Windsor Star
Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Do you really think the American Hockey League is going to fly in Essex County?

Ask the people of Cornwall. Or Quebec City. Or St. Catharines. Or Moncton. Or Saint John. Or St. John's. Or Cape Breton. Or Halifax. Or Newmarket. Or Charlottetown. Or Edmonton. Or Fredericton. Or Sherbrooke.

All of these Canadian cities were home to AHL franchises in the past two decades. Not one of them still is and nine of them ceased to exist in the last 10 years.

Fifteen Canadian franchises have come and gone from the AHL since the 1980s. Of the three that remain - Hamilton, Toronto and Manitoba - only the latter could be classified as being on solid footing.

Welcome to your future, Tecumseh, one filled with red ink and a hasty exit.

Got your chequebook handy?

Yes, the big news Monday was that the AHL board of governors had been granted conditional approval of the sale and relocation of the inactive AHL franchise owned by Gardens Hockey Inc. of Cincinnati to Windsor's IceTrack Corporation, the driving force behind Project IceTrack, which announced Friday its plans to construct a 6,500-seat arena in Tecumseh.

Before you get the party started, let's make a few things clear.

Conditional approval of a sale is a long way from a finalized purchase.

Remember when Saskatoon purchased the St. Louis Blues?

They said that was a done deal, too.

A number of conditions must be met for the sale to be approved.

Among them, there must be an arena in place.

An NHL club willing to utilize Tecumseh as its affiliate needs to be secured.

The Windsor Spitfires are supposed to be cowering in the corner with fear over this latest development.

Yet at Windsor Arena Monday, Spits coach Bob Boughner was running practice and director of player personnel Warren Rychel was taking care of a number of tasks on his plate.

In other words, it was business as usual.

"We're battlers," said Rychel, who purchased the team earlier this year with Boughner and Pete Dobrich. "We've never backed down from a fight."

The AHL was formed in 1936 when the Canadian-American League and the International-American Leagues merged.

One of the teams that didn't survive the cut during the merger was the Windsor Bulldogs, who folded following the 1935-36 IAHL season.

Minor pro hockey failed here then and it is destined to fail here now.

Cincinnati, a city of 2.1 million, couldn't support an AHL club. How on earth will they make a go of it in this town, with the auto industry in turmoil and the economy apparently headed toward a significant downturn?

Windsor is a junior town and that's what it always will be.

Ontario Hockey League commissioner Dave Branch, who also serves as president of the Canadian Hockey League, came to Windsor Monday to throw his support behind the Spitfires, who are in favour of an east-side Windsor location for their new home.

Branch described an AHL franchise in Tecumseh as "an intriguing initiative," but wasn't worried for the future of the Spitfires.

"Overall, we believe the OHL and the Windsor Spitfires brand will stand the test," Branch said.

Branch noted that many of the cities that were home to failed AHL franchises now house very successful junior clubs.

The AHL is the second-best league on the planet, but brings with it a pricetag that includes higher operating costs and that means higher ticket prices for you.

At this point in time, can Essex County really afford it?

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #263  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 1:48 PM
upinottawa upinottawa is offline
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Where are the MPPs on this one? I wonder if any other suburban communties benefit from OLG money?
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  #264  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 2:09 PM
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Stick with an OHL team since its better since you can compete with other Canadian cities. Good rivalry could start with Windsor vs. London.
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  #265  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 2:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upinottawa
At this point in time, can Essex County really afford it?
As many of you on this forum and the New OHL Open Forum are great hockey fans, Essex county is not! Football on the other hand is popular even amongst those who don't even watch football. During the Silverdome days we would rent a bus and about 35 to 40 of us would head over to see the Lions play twice a year. 60% of those on the bus didn't even know who the Lions were playing. Now Hockey, sure every casual fan jumped on the Red Wing bandwagon, but not once did I ever have a conversation about the Spits, and very rarely could you spark a conversation about the Wings, Leafs or even Hockey in general. Not only will the AHL fail miserably but even the OHL is only talked about by the most avid hockey fan. It was depressing living in an area that had little interest in Hockey, and watching the Spits in a not to nice facility. I would have given anything for a new arena, but my question is. How are they going to fill a 6500 seat arena with concerts when Detroit get's the best acts in the world? How are they going to fill a 6500 seat arena when they have no interest in marketing to the county? And who can afford a ticket after they pay there mortgage on that overpriced home in Techumseh?
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  #266  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 8:10 PM
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not to sound too dick-ish... but i hope this plan blows up in Tecumseh's face. that may sound a bit harsh, but i despise when the the burbs encourage decentralization and sprawl like this.

besides, introducing an AHL team (if it happens) might take away enough spitfire fans to weaken the team to the point where the region has two limp franchises. this is all wild, unresearched speculation, but i could envision the day where they both become ripe for buyout offers and the region ends up with no teams at all.
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Last edited by arnold; Oct 3, 2006 at 8:38 PM.
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  #267  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 8:30 PM
upinottawa upinottawa is offline
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My uneducated guess is that Tecumseh never sees an AHL franchise. My prediction is that in the next few months the arena ownership group will examine the market for AHL hockey in Windsor-Essex and find that there is not enough support in the area for both the Spits and an AHL team. The ownership group will then purposely fail to sign as an affiliate with an NHL team and the idea will die on a lawyer's desk.

At the same time, the Tecumseh plan will spur Windsor's city council to build the east end arena complex. The Spits will stay in Windsor at this east end complex. The Ice Track will still be built at the 401 and Manning with significantly less than 6500 seats. Minor Hockey associations in Tecumseh, Essex, and Lakeshore will be the primary users of the Tecumseh facility. Our Lady Peace will play there once a year. The Slots will move to the ice track but royalties will continue (in some percentage) to be sent to Windsor. There will be politicial interference on that decision as Duncan will recognize that most of his riding resides in the city.
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  #268  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Where are the MPPs on this one? I wonder if any other suburban communties benefit from OLG money?
Ironic that Pupatello is now the Minister of Economic Development.

Quote:
Stick with an OHL team since its better since you can compete with other Canadian cities. Good rivalry could start with Windsor vs. London.
There's already a good rivalry between the two, goes back to the days when they used to be in the same division.

The AHL franchise will fail, I have doubts it'll even start up in Tecumseh.
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  #269  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 11:34 PM
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Well said upinottawa, you might be right on with that statement. And that would be the best thing to happen for the entire area. You would then have a second respectable facility for the entire region to hold tournaments, and hopefully big enough for the junior B Chiefs, the Spits have their new east end arena "much needed," no AHL to hurt the Spits attendance, and the racetrack would probably be more successful just off the 401!
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  #270  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2006, 11:48 PM
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where abouts in the east-end are they looking to put this new arena? has anyone heard any possible locations?
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  #271  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 2:01 AM
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I've heard it's in the Lauzon Road area north of Tecumseh Rd. There's going to be some bigtime arena talk at a special council meeting tomorrow. Rumour has it that the old Grace hospital site is a possible new arena location as well.

Last edited by Blitz; Apr 30, 2008 at 2:52 AM.
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  #272  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 3:57 AM
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Rumour has it that the old Grace hospital site is a possible new arena location as well.
That is where my first Daughter was born.
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  #273  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 5:34 AM
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The arena saga takes yet another turn. According to am800's website, two new groups have come out of nowhere with arena proposals

MORE ARENA PROPOSALS 2006-10-03 15:08:31
Two more city arena proponents have come forward expressing interest in building a new arena in Windsor. Westpark Developments out of Hamilton and Concorde Contracting out of Windsor submitted a joint letter this morning asking city council to delay a decision tomorrow so that they can discuss with council their proposal. They are proposing an arena complex on the former Grace Hospital site or the former Western Super Anchor site. A second group Norr Architects have also expressed interest in building a 42 million dollar arena in the downtown.
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  #274  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Whoa, Westpark Developments huh? They got serious money. There currently restoring a hotel in Hamilton to a 5 star hotel with a new condo tower attached too.
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  #275  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 1:58 PM
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As I posted on detroityes:

Well, it looks like something will eventually happen. If anything the Tecumseh proposal should ensure the city builds something in the near future.

I am still sold on a premier single pad facility downtown coupled with a multipad facility somewhere on the east end. I realize that such a proposal would be the most expensive option. I still think in the long run it would be better for the city. I also still think that the city should approach the university and St. Clair College to be partners at this complex. During the day, the rink could be used for varsity practices and house league games. At night, when the Spits are not in town, the College and University teams could play there.

The multipad facility is also a priority as the city appears to want to replace its existing aging east end arenas. Money has been put aside for such projects.

At this point, I am of the view that the city will consolidate its premier rink with its multipad facility (as per the east end complex). Surely this will be the cheapest option and the easiest option to sell to Windsorites. Unfortunately, it is not the best option for enhancing the city's downtown.

That's politics for you. But at least the city will finally get something built. For that, you can thank the Toldo Group.

--------------

BTW, I was also born at Grace.
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  #276  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 4:09 PM
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speaking of the spitfires, i saw them on the 'colbert report' last night. he was doing a piece on the saganaw seagulls who happened to be playing the windsor spitfires. so there you go, nation-wide, high-profile media exposurefor windsor on comedy central. but apparently, the spits lost 5-3. quel domage...

BTW, i think that former grace hospital site could be good. that is the big plot of land on university just outside of downtown, right?
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  #277  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 4:51 PM
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^ lol, it's the Saginaw Spirit, not the Seagulls.

Last edited by Blitz; Apr 30, 2008 at 2:52 AM.
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  #278  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 5:21 PM
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yeah the Grace Hospital site would be great too. But it seems like City Council really doesn't favor an arena project downtown (why!).. probably because they want to help replace Adstoll and Riverside with the arena project? like a previous poster said though, if only they'd go with the more expensive option, everyone would win.

heh, they also need to 'go with the most expensive option' for the new border crossing!

Last edited by westerntragedy; Oct 4, 2006 at 5:26 PM.
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  #279  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2006, 6:16 PM
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just thought of something after looking at some of the DRIC proposals. Would the ex-raceway lands be a suitable place for the new bridge plaza? The DRIC has outlined three final plaza options that they are studying, 2 in the Brighton Beach area and one next to EC Row/Matchette. Do groups like the DRIC 'go backwards' once new options become available? I can see the old Raceway lands as a decent location for something involving the new border crossing.

I mean a Wal*Mart there would be interesting, but, meh
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  #280  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Council approves $48M arena plan

Move won’t raise taxes, Postma tells voters

The Windsor Star
Thu. Oct. 5, 2006
By Roberta Pennington
Star Staff Reporter

City Council voted late Wednesday to move ahead with a new arena and sports centre in east Windsor.
“I’m not prepared to wait for a better deal because I don’t think there’s one out there,” said Ward 2 Coun. Caroline Postma. “It’s time to move, it’s the right thing to do.”
She said voters “are not going to see a difference on their tax bill as a result of this project.” Ward 4 Coun. David Cassivi was the lone opponent.
“I can’t in good conscience agree,” he said. “I firmly believe to the bottom of my soul that this does a disservice” to Windsor taxpayers.
Alan Halberstadt declared a conflict of interest because his wife has ties to the Spitfires.

Council heard from about 30 delegations — including city employees, local hockey groups, the Windsor Spitfires and the arena developer — before Coun. Tom Wilson tabled a motion to approve the project.
Council’s endorsement of the four-pad arena project would mean administration has 90 days to draft a report reviewing PCR Contractors Inc.’s design.
PCR’s final design is not expected to be much different from the proposal that was presented to council in front of a packed chamber Monday.
“Unless there’s something major that somebody wants to change — a major part of the project — I think it’s just a matter of doing the paperwork,” said Frank Fazio, solicitor for PCR, which is made up of Paolo Collavino and Renzo Collavino.

With colourful architectural renderings displayed along chamber walls, city administrators Jan Wilson and Michael Duben reviewed the proposal and agreed it met needs and objectives identified by the city.
Primarily, it would replace aging facilities, result in a net gain of two ice pads, provide an Ontario Hockey League venue, offer an additional multipurpose recreational space and consolidate existing facilities.
The main ice bowl would seat 6,500 spectators and offer 31 suites.

The plan also calls for building three NHLsize rinks and a 22,000-square-foot recreation centre.
The centre would include a seniors’ program area, an auditorium with a kitchen, a gym and a full-size basketball court.
“(It would be) the most unique and dynamic facility of its kind at least in Canada,” said Christopher O’Reilly, an architect with Stadium Consultants International Inc. Construction of the $47,920,000 project could start in early 2007 and will take between 19 and 20 months to complete.

The price quoted by PCR is a guaranteedmaximum that will cover the cost of building the arena, but does not account for the price of the land that the city will have to acquire. Under the design-build agreement PCR is proposing, the company would be responsible for any construction cost overruns. “The $47,920,000 is fixed with respect to what we have submitted to you,” Fazio said. No site has been selected for the new arena, but it will require 30 to 40 acres, Renzo Collavino said. A delegate offered council a $10-million incentive to build near the Banwell Road area, between Tecumseh Road East and the E.C. Row Expressway.
That’s where the Sonoma Hospitality Group is considering building a 103-room Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites to tap into the business expected to be generated by the planned multi-plex.

Peter Dobrich, a co-owner of the Windsor Spitfires, also assured council the franchise would be willing to sign a 20-year lease agreement with the city.
The Spitfires, who back the PCR plan, are also committed to paying the cost of the jumbotron in the arena.
“We’re entrenched in this community,” Dobrich said.
“One of the unique things about the project is that everything’s in one place. The opportunities are endless. We still believe in Windsor.”
The proposal also received support from representatives of the Riverside Minor Hockey Association and the Windsor Minor Hockey Association.
Without tender
But the recent news that the Town of Tecumseh will soon have its own arena and ancillary ice pad led many delegates to question the wisdom of building a similar facility in Windsor without tendering the project.
“Suddenly we have LaSalle and Tecumseh with major projects constructing the same facilities we have in mind for Windsor,” said Windsor resident Mervin Dependleton.
“You want us to make an untendered bid to go with a new east-end arena ignoring the current realities.”
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