Janesville29.1°

Hockey team finds delay 'problematic'

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
March 7, 2009
— A delay by the Janesville City Council will force Wisconsin Hockey Partners to decide whether to pay a $5,000 league application fee before knowing if the council will OK bringing a junior A hockey team to the city.

The council had been scheduled to vote Monday on spending $200,000 to build a locker room and office space at the Janesville Ice Skating Center for the team. The team would then rent that space from the city.


The money also would pay for a new sound system, expanded concession stand and improved heating system. A separate locker room for the team is required by the North American Hockey League.


But the council has delayed a vote until March 23.


The council also delayed a vote Feb. 23, when representatives of the figure skating group complained they had not been contacted by the city about the plans. Council members also had concerns about separating beer sales from youth. Wisconsin Hockey Partners has said beer sales are needed for the revenue.


"We would prefer the vote be taken Monday night, but we understand the council wants to work through a few more details," Wisconsin Hockey Partners spokesman Bill McCoshen said.


"The partners are still bullish on Janesville," he added.


"But the delay is problematic."


The primary recruiting period for hockey players is April, when Wisconsin Hockey Partners would begin to build a team for the 2009-10 season.


But it takes at least a week for the league to process an application, meaning the partners can't wait to see how the council votes March 23 before paying the league application fee, McCoshen said.


Wisconsin Hockey Partners will decide next week whether to spend the $5,000 or "risk losing out on a bunch of players in a key recruiting period."


McCoshen said he and City Manger Eric Levitt are down to a couple of issues in the contract, and both sides are close to agreement.


One concern is the sale of alcohol. The city also is asking for more revenue from the team, while the team is hoping to get the per-game fee reduced.



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