Council supports expansion hockey team coming to town

By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer
Claresholm town council has agreed to support Greater Metro Hockey League expansion into Claresholm for the 2022-23 season, with practices starting Sept. 15, 2022.
At its April 25 meeting, council was updated on the situation by Chief Administrative Officer Abe Tinney.
He explained the ad-hoc committee that was created to explore the possibility of an expansion team met on March 16 and 24.
They invited all arena users including the skating club, minor hockey, pond hockey, and adult hockey.
Administration invited members of the public through advertisement in the paper. Representatives from these groups were at either one or both of the ad-hoc meetings. The committee also had representation from arena staff members to contribute an operational perspective to the conversation. The groups discussed the obstacles and opportunities of expansion, and apart from concerns from minor hockey over ice time and occasional access to the Thunder change room, which minor hockey felt could be worked around, there were no other concerns.
Tinney noted the hockey team also wants to sell liquor and make some money on that.
He said the town’s current policy, which allows liquor sales for special events only, would have to be amended to allow the group permission for the entire hockey season.
Tinney added the Greater Metro Hockey League wants the arena opened two weeks earlier and kept open two weeks longer than usual. The town staff said that is not a problem and the additional costs could be partially offset by rental fees.
Council also had to set rental rates for the arena for the team.
A survey was done of other Greater Metro Hockey League communities and the rates proposed for Claresholm are lower than other towns but consistent with Claresholm’s rates.
Council set the rates at $129.50 per hour for prime ice and $70.90 per hour for practice ice plus GST at the Claresholm Arena for the 2022-23 season.
Coun. Rod Kettles said there was a broad consensus among the community groups that they are generally in favour and see more benefits than negatives.
Council then agreed to support expansion of the Greater Metro Hockey League into Claresholm.