Councillors here have approved $2,500 in “advertising” to help the Erin Shamrocks Junior C hockey team with escalating costs.
General manager Gerry Corrigan had asked council earlier this month for a reduction to the team’s current hourly rate of $150. He said the team wants “something closer to what minor hockey would pay – $110.”
Corrigan explained increasing ice rental costs, combined with higher transportation costs and other rising prices have made operating the team too expensive. And last week council approved some help for the team, although not in the form of a reduced ice rate.
Facility manager Graham Smith recommended the ice rate remain the same because all ice time for the team is fully sponsored by local companies, the condition of the ice after Shamrock games requires more maintenance than any other user, attendance at the Junior C games is no higher than for any other team, and none of the other arenas contacted by staff offer junior teams a discount.
Yet most councillors felt something should be done to help the team. Councillor Ken Chapman suggested the town forgive the $1,000 annual storage fee and that’s it.
But Mayor Rod Finnie said he would like to offer the team $2,500 in advertising dollars to help offset costs.
That figure was brought forward from the previous meeting, when Corrigan mentioned reducing the team’s ice time by $25 per hour would save the team $2,500 per year.
However, councillors preferred to provide advertising dollars instead of setting a precedent by reducing the team’s rate for ice time.
When it came time for a decision, councillors voted 4-1 in favour of providing $2,500 in advertising to the Shamrocks for the 2008-09 season, with the funds coming from the recreation department. Councillor Josie Wintersinger was opposed.