Council to decide future of minor hockey season on Feb. 17

February 11, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

After significant deliberations, Orangeville Council has decided to wait until a Special Council Meeting on Feb. 17 to decide the fate of local hockey and skating associations’ 2020-2021 season.

Feb. 16 is when Dufferin County is expected to move into the “red” zone of the Province’s COVID-19 framework, which would permit 10 players on the ice at a time in total, however they would solely be focused on skills development instead of playing actual games.

Late last month, representatives from the Orangeville Minor Hockey Association, Orangeville Tigers Girls Hockey, and Skate Canada delivered presentations to Council, requesting a 50 per cent reduction in ice fees so they can complete their season. At that time, Town staff estimated the cost would be $120,000.

While Council was supposed to make a decision on the ice fees at their meeting earlier in the week (Feb. 8), they decided to hold off until they have a better understanding of whether the rest of the season can be played.

“Best case scenario would be if we were to trigger things next week and they could get 10 weeks in, that’s what they’d be aiming for and they’d be looking at skills development,” noted Ray Osmond, general manager of community services for the Town.

Coun. Lisa Post said the waiving of ice fees is a difficult decision to make, especially following a phone call from a resident that hit on her heart strings. The resident explained that their family has never been able to afford any hockey programming for their kids and now all of the sudden their tax dollars are being considered to subsidize the programs they’ve never been able to afford.

“That was a really difficult call for me to get from a resident and it’s hard for me to balance that one out,” said Coun. Post.

“There was nothing I could say to that resident other than you’re right, it is an expensive sport, and… the fact we’re looking at investing $100–$150,000 into three ice related organizations is a difficult pill to swallow when there are families who haven’t been able to ever afford to participate in those activities.”

When looking at the costs to keep ice in at the Tony Rose arena, it’s $20,000 to $25,000 a month per pad, just to run the compressors.

Osmond said it’s “concerning” from a financial standpoint when looking at the fact that the Town of Orangeville has kept ice in at its arena since Dec. 24 with no activity.

“The revenue losses are quite significant overall,” he noted.

Coun. Grant Peters said that between two pads, $50,000 a month really starts to add up.

When looking at other municipalities in Ontario, Osmond told Council about 40 per cent are keeping their ice in and 60 per cent have taken their ice out.

Meanwhile, no municipalities looked at decreasing rates for local hockey associations, according to Osmond.

At a Special Council Meeting scheduled for Feb. 17, a decision will be made whether or not to keep the ice in at Tony Rose for the rest of the season and if the Town will provide any price reductions in ice rental fees.

Skate Canada, Orangeville Tigers Girls Hockey and the Orangeville Minor Hockey Association are being asked to attend the Feb. 17 meeting so they can make the decision in unison and provide any additional information requested by Council.

when it comes to the idea of inoculation sites for vaccinations, we are in discussions, there are some facilities in Ontario right now that have been designated for vaccination sites and what they’re looking at of course is dry floor.”

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