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There's a story today in the Niagara Falls Review in which the city of Chatham denies "rumours" that they are interested in building a new arena in hopes to lure the Dogs away from St. Catharines....
Now, I'm just a lowly OHL reporter, but this article sounds awfully like a plant. Like when a source calls you up with a "good tip" on a story that ultimately benefits the source. And that is no way a knock on reporter Ray Spiteri, because this is a story he has to write -- it has people informed and talking and that's the whole point.
You have to read a bit to find it, but here's the quote that sticks out to me, from team owner Bill Burke:
"We can't financially sustain a 3,000 rink for another five years," Burke told the paper. "It's not a very user-friendly facility to go to, yet 3,000 of our dedicated fans have put up with it every night."
That's right St. Chatharines, you better build the Dogs a new rink soon, or they'll take move the team to Chatham, North Bay, Cornwall, Buffalo, Vaughan, Syracuse, or any other city that has even briefly discussed building a new arena -- you wouldn't want to lose your team now would you?
How many times have we seen sports teams run this play before?
This is nothing more than a powerplay orchestrated to whip up local sentiment and exert a little pressure on city hall to move the arena process along in St. Catharines.
"It won't happen overnight," said St. Catharines mayor Brian McMullan of his city's arena study. "We want to get it right. We have to be respectful of the taxpayers."
Ah, yes, the taxpayers -- the poor souls who would have to foot the bill for this new rink.
NOTE: Before IceDogs fans start freaking out over the rumours of the team moving, I encourage you to read through the archives of the Kingston Whig-Standard regarding building the K-Rock centre for the Frontenacs and the use of taxpayer funds.
Fred Galloway is the consultant hired by the city of Chatham to work on their arena study.
"I've been around hockey for a long time and it doesn't take much to get a rumour going," he said.
Amen, Fred. Amen.
As always - questions, comments, compliments, complaints, threats etc: email@example.com or on Twitter @loosepucks
but we do need a new arena for the long term and to try and lure other big events.
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