Wednesday, December 7, 2011
ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX APPROVED!
By a decisive 9-3 vote St Catharines council approved a new entertainment facility on Monday night, marking the biggest date in Ice Dogs history. The threats of the Ice Dogs leaving town if they were not part of the new facility was not an idle one. Bill and Denise Burke love their hockey, but first and foremost they are business people and the revenue streams out the Jack Gatcliffe arena were somewhat limited. A few things come to the forefront now:
1. The proposed completion of the building is to be January of 2014, and hopefully the time lines can be met. Promotion wise its in the best interest of the region to have the building open on time. Hopefully there is a run on shovels at the local Canadian Tire as the catch phrase should change from Let's Build It to Let's Start Building It!
2. There have been a lot of promises that this will be an entertainment facility as opposed to a hockey arena. I'm sure that the marketing group running the facility will do the necessary leg work to make this true. Mid-level concerts, trade shows, wrestling are all a reality along with the boost from sporting events. Heck, Neil Diamond is playing Toronto June 26th. Why not live large and have a Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow and Paul Anka triple bill!! If that were the case my fellow broadcasters Ed Burkholder and Al Galloway will be pre-ordering concert T-Shirts!
3. Along with the Niagara Ice Dogs, the St. Catharines Falcons and Brock Badgers expect to be additional tenants. Hopefully the complex can be seamlessly adapted into a basketball facility. The arena could then attract OCAA, OUA and CIS hoop events and maybe even a professional team in the fledgling all-Canadian NBL.
4. There might be a move to change the name from Niagara to St Catharines Ice Dogs. This would more reflect the revitalization of downtown. While the Ice Dogs have been marketed as a regional team, it makes sense to localize the name.
FROM THE LATE NIGHT EDITION...
Better late than never is the old adage. Here are the highlights from Niagara's 4-3 SO loss to the suddenly viable and resurgent Barrie Colts. Barrie came back from a 3-1 deficit to nip the Dogs. After a tough 1st year, Dale Hawerchuk's message seems to be sinking in to the Colts, but did you expect anything else from the Hall of Famer?