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Thursday November 27 2014
12:06 PM EST
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2014-01-21 at 11:15

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By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

A group headed by former NHL coach and broadcaster Gary Green has been chosen as the city’s preferred potential partner in the proposed new $106.1-million event centre.

Green, who made the announcement with city officials Tuesday at city hall, outlined a plan that would see the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets shift their American Hockey League franchise from St. John’s, N.L. to Thunder Bay.

The deal would also include a partnership with Lakehead University that would ensure the survival of the Thunderwolves men’s hockey program.

City officials said they’ve signed a non-binding letter of intent with Thunder Bay Live, the consortium put together by Green that includes Stadium Consultants International, Global Spectrum Facility Management, True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd., Lakehead University, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. and BBB Architects Toronto Inc.

Green, first introduced to Thunder Bay by the late Jim Johnson a decade ago, said the proposed 5,600-seat event centre, set to enter Phase 3 of its development, is more than just a one-sport building. It would also include 50,000 square feet of convention space. 

“These are not just hockey facilities anymore. They are very much multi-purpose sports and entertainment and cultural centres and this is going to have all of them, provided the city goes forward with the last implements of the process,” Green said.

“It will be a great conference centre as well that will create some great impact to the city.”

He said it was too early in the process to determine whether or not Thunder Bay Live would contribute to the construction costs of the event centre, which would replace the aging Fort William Gardens if built. But he promised the group was in it for the long haul. 

Earlier in the process the city identified the downtown north core as the preferred location, a controversial move that had supporters of a more centralized site up in arms.

True North CEO Mark Chipman was not on hand for the announcement, but the company made it clear in a release the plan is to bring the AHL to the city if the arena moves forward.

“True North Sports and Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club are excited about the prospect of operating our American Hockey League franchise in Thunder Bay. We are well aware of the community’s rich hockey tradition and are confident that Thunder Bay would be a great location to develop our future prospects.”

City manager Tim Commisso said it wasn’t easy narrowing down the five bids the city received when it put out a request for expressions of interest last year.

It came down to experience.

“The reality of it is it’s not just hockey, but that’s an important component of it. To have two anchor tenants, and have those two anchor tenants working in partnership is really important,” Commisso said. “That could potentially provide 60 to 70 dates for the facility, in addition to all of the concerts and conventions and all of that.”

He added two affordable brands of hockey would be a good thing for Thunder Bay. He estimated Thunderwolves tickets average about $12 apiece, with AHL tickets going for between $20 and $25. 

Mayor Keith Hobbs couldn't contain his smile, though cautioned nothing is set in stone. The provincial and federal governments must come through with a portion of the expected cost or the project is likely dead in the frozen water. 

"It is not complete and I've said all along that we have to do our homework. This is a piece off that assignment. But it's a very important piece and a very exciting piece," Hobbs said. "When you look at the calibre of the people we are dealing with -- the Winnipeg Jets farm team ... is huge for our city. It's huge for our country, actually, and to bring along the Lakehead Thunderwolves with it, it really does my heart good." 

 


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Comments

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FWDThinking says:
Great move for the future of Thunder Bay. Let's move forward.
1/21/2014 11:43:41 AM
S Duncan says:
Theres nothing forward about burdening our citizens with further debt and a project that is (conservatively) projected to lose $1 million every year.

Buying a new car when you are up to your eyes in debt is not moving forward even though it may appear that way to the casual onlooker.

Perhaps that's why Thunder Bay has so many "forward moving" bankruptcies?

Just check our local trustees in bankruptcy for confirmation of that fact.
1/21/2014 12:20:38 PM
Unspoken says:
Out comes the couch potatoes who want Thunder Bay to stay in the Stone Age.
1/21/2014 3:29:37 PM
S Duncan says:
and out come those children who cannot form any valid arguement against the financial realities of this future liability so they start calling people cave dwelling troglodytes and assume they are couch potatoes.

Pretty sad when couch inhabiting neanderthals can perform the simple math behind this future failure but you "forward thinking "communists who desire subsidized hockey cannot.

Leith, are you the propagandist in chief or what? You seem to only be allowing comments that support your undying love to oogle men in sports uniforms?

am I wrong? or are you just up to your usual tricks?
1/21/2014 5:13:54 PM
sky high says:
LOL says the long-haired hippy that almost got his mic shut off at the meeting at the auditorium. Sometimes what you say is so redundant and without merit that I don't blame someone if they censor you. Get back to your basement there Repunzel-the events centre is a certainty!
1/21/2014 8:23:27 PM
S Duncan says:
told you before you have me confused for someone else.

Never had long hair, not now, not ever. Never went to any meeting at the auditorium.

What you need to realize is that a considerable number oppose this mess. How big a number? My personal guess is a very solid majority but without an actual vote, we will not find out.

That's why we should have a vote on this. Only people who are scared of the outcome would oppose a vote. This is well beyond the lawful approach, reach, and intent of a municipal government.

Why are you scared to put it to a vote?

is it because you know you will lose? or do you just hate the democratic process?

and spare us the elected leaders are supposed to make these decisions BS. This goes well outside the realm they are to operate within.

Perhaps the team could be named the Thunder Bay Communists? or the Syringes? Or the Socialists? The deficits? the Thieves? The losers? The Thunder Bay Reds? (ink and commie)

do we need welfare hockey??
1/22/2014 8:16:44 AM
sky high says:
You can deny it all you want but you were pointed out to me by an acquaintance of yours and you talk the same way you write....Repunzal. Now, we voted for our city representation in our municipal elections and they have decided to build this great thing. And if there was a plebiscite, just remember Duncan----you can only vote ONCE. It is not like in this site, where you in particular vote for your own comments 300 times. You get one vote in a plebiscite, so you and I both know you are a minuscule minority here. Bad day for you Repunzal, but I don't feel sorry for you one little bit
1/22/2014 11:14:35 AM
sky high says:
And by the way Duncan, you keep saying that if we want an events centre then the ones who want it should pay for it themselves. Well, Dunc, no one who supports the events centre is afraid of a plebiscite, because we know we are a strong majority. You see, we don't want the city's tax money wasted on something we already know the outcome of. However, if YOU want a plebiscite, then by your own reasoning it must be YOU that pays for the plebiscite. Can't have it both ways, so pony up if you want a plebiscite!!!
1/22/2014 2:00:28 PM
S Duncan says:
You are incapable of rational discussion. We all know that here. Not sure what benefit you are to Thunder Bay, if any at all.

You are much like a child throwing a tantrum. Your comments are always just name calling and throwing out false information.

I don't know why Leith displays your nonsensical comments that clearly go against the rules we are supposed to operate within...

... oh, I know. Its because you support his dream of socialized welfare sports.

1/23/2014 10:21:23 AM
sky high says:
If Leith does have a dream of getting the events centre built well that's a lot more than your dream of keeping us in the Vietnam era. You're like a Grinch that wants everyone to be unhappy and just sit around doing nothing. Just because you're incapable of enjoying what this town has to offer, you're negative about everything. Later Repunzel
1/23/2014 5:35:08 PM
Eastender says:
Duncan, if you run for mayor, you got my vote.
1/21/2014 10:25:42 PM
Eastender says:
Better than being in the 'stoned age'. Where one can just sit and entertain their delusions, while wearing rose coloured glasses
1/24/2014 3:55:31 PM
ou812 says:
I have no problem paying a little more in taxes if it brings an event centre to town. I can't believe all the whiners that complain about taxes! My taxes are completely acceptable and I wouldn't evening mind paying more to get this thing done. If you don't like paying taxes go move 50 km out of town. Or go move to a cheeper neighbourhood.
1/21/2014 7:57:16 PM
minstrel says:
why should we pay taxes for this? if it is truly profitable, let the private sector do it. not everybody cares about hockey, and only those that do should pay for it. this is not an essential service, it is not taxpayers responsibility to pay for people's hobbies. didn't they just get rid of a golf course for this reason?
1/21/2014 8:33:10 PM
smartguy83 says:
Ok let's shut down all the pools, outdoor rinks, other hockey rinks losing money, provincial parks losing money, etc. etc. etc. The city will take a hit if it makes sense
1/22/2014 9:08:40 AM
ou812 says:
I'm not saying to raise taxes but that seems to be the concern of all the negative thinking penny pinchers on this site.

Besides If you think this is just about hockey your are truly ignorant, thats why its called an event centre! And of course its not an essential service but its long overdue.
1/22/2014 9:42:09 AM
Eastender says:
You can call it Camelot or Disney World, and sugar coat it all you want, its still a glorified HOCKEY RINK, of which we have plenty in town and dont need any more of. Cant even fill the gardens!
1/23/2014 10:02:40 AM
S Duncan says:
taxes are not to be used for things YOU want.

If theres something YOU want, go buy it. It is not up to the citizens of Thunder Bay to buy you things you want.

Try acting like an adult instead of a spoiled child or a communist.
1/22/2014 8:51:54 AM
fastball says:
According to SDuncan - not a single thing would be built in this town until every last pothole, sidewalk, sewer pipe, water line and telephone pole was replaced.
Hey, maybe I'm dead wrong here - but tax monies are used for projects IN THE COMMUNITY. You could try being an adult and realize that, just like the song says - you can't always get what you want. That, sometimes - you just gotta get out of the way, because whether or not you approve of it, some decisions are made at higher levels than yourself. I'm trusting City Council not to sell us down the river by acting irresponsibly and rashly. I prefer to let the financial experts tell me what's possible - rather than your chronic rantings of dire doom and gloom. Until you prove that you're privy to all the financial info, I'm treating everything you say as....opinion.
I respectfully suggest that YOU'RE the one acting like a spoiled child who's stomping around the room because he doesn't want to eat green beans for supper.
1/22/2014 9:50:42 PM
brooky says:
90%+ of the comments are all for this, yet you get the most agrees. That's funny right there...
1/21/2014 9:32:55 PM
S Duncan says:
I see what your saying, but it appears to me that many people agree with my comments.

What seems most likely is our events center propagandist disguised as independent media isn't allowing comments to be posted that don't tow the line of his dream of subsidized hockey.

Im all for this project, but you people that want it need to pay for it. Leith, start a collection if you want hockey, don't cry to municipal government to provide for you.

Its really belittling to beg for subsidized sporting. Cant you people act like adults?
1/22/2014 7:51:25 AM
Leith Dunick says:
We've probably approved 99 per cent of the comments filed on this story. We reported the facts of yesterday's meeting, and will be following up today with other angles. Not sure what you're asking. Should I have skewed the story to your point of view? If you and some like-minded folks want to go on record, with your real names, and oppose the project, I'll gladly do the story.

I didn't get one phone call or letter to the editor yesterday opposing this project, just the same dozen or so people on here who oppose anything and everything council spends money on. Start a petition to prove there's widespread opposition.
1/22/2014 10:11:34 AM
S Duncan says:
Leith dont pretend to be innocent of extreme bias here.

All one has to do is read your colleagues and your own tweets right here on this page to see you are a left wing socialist who thinks government (the taxpayers) should subsidize your creepy obsession with sports.

You have created a socialist utopia of a media page here pretending to be objective and neutral but your obvious slant is apparent to any body who thinks for 3 or more seconds to themselves.

You have repeatedly censored comments and user names for no reason other than your own selfish ideals. This has been going on here for a long time. We all know that many subjects here are never allowed to be remotely open to comments other than full support towing your line. I submitted a perfectly acceptable comment yesterday pointing out Anthony Leblancs involvement in this and with Commisso. You of course failed to display it.

So dont pretend this is unopposed when youve created a world that doesnt accept opposition.
1/22/2014 10:45:41 AM
Leith Dunick says:
User names that have been banned repeatedly used racist language or attempt to slander others with unfounded accusations that could get us sued. It has nothing to do with anyone's political leanings. We will always err on the side of caution. We're not getting sued because you think you have the right to say anything you want on our site. You don't.

You can voice extreme left-wing, extreme-right wing, libertarian and centrist views all you want. Just look at the contrast of comments on this story if you doubt that. But there is a line and if we think you've crossed it, however slightly, the comment isn't welcome here. It's not about censorship, it's about liability and community sensitivity. Don't like our rules? Go play elsewhere.



1/22/2014 11:13:55 AM
S Duncan says:
I appreciate what youre saying Leith. Nobody understands better than me when you ask people who don't like the rules to go play somewhere else.

The problem is the rules keep changing. Look at many of the posts on this story who go directly after me. According to your own rules that's not supposed to happen. Its OK, Im a big boy and words cant hurt me. However the fact that you change the rules and move the goalposts as you go is the problem.

I personally have submitted many, many comments that were well under the guidelines, but they never are displayed. How many others are tired of typing comments that just never show up?

You pretend to be objective but you're far from it. Fine, your house, your rules. You have to keep in mind this is a small town. Visitors and commenters to your site have grown wise to your motives and methods.

Claiming that comments that don't make it because they are racist, slanderous, or libellous is just not true. Many are, but we know all are not.
1/23/2014 10:03:00 AM
Leith Dunick says:
You also have to understand there are five different people approving comments here and we all have slightly different standards because it is a subjective thing. And internally we don't always agree, to be honest. I'll let things slide that Scott won't, for example, and vice versa. I may approve a comment, then someone takes a second look at it and decides to err on the side of caution and removes it. You may think your comment played within the rules, but there's something that caught someone's attention and it doesn't get approved. We also try to avoid links to other (local) news sites. Racism and slander go without saying.

Trust me, there are plenty of comments attacking you that never see the light of day.

This isn't political. Conservative or Liberal, post away. For the event centre or against it, this is a chance to have your say. City officials are reading them, I can guarantee that.

1/23/2014 2:06:23 PM
Eastender says:
So, 507 to 336 as of 07:20 pm friday. I think thats the way the whole town feels about this multiplex.

With such strong opposition to a major project, the only way to make the decision is with a plebicite.
1/24/2014 7:22:33 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
Which which is which?

Is it True North Live (like the article says) or is it Thunder Bay Live (like the title of the article says, which is a new up-and-coming news website)?
1/21/2014 11:59:02 AM
pearlman says:
Excellent move! Let's get it done folks!

1/21/2014 12:12:44 PM
bttnk says:
This is fantastic news! With the 2 occupants - AHL affiliate and Thunderwolves hockey, and funding from the province an near certainty, the events centre is very close to being shovel ready.
1/21/2014 12:19:51 PM
Wolfie says:
Excellent. When can they start?
1/21/2014 12:50:00 PM
sky high says:
This is truly one of the greatest days in the history of Thunder Bay. I'm getting my Manitoba Moose jersey Tonight!!!
1/21/2014 1:06:01 PM
sky high says:
Woops...i meant the AHL affiliate. Wishful thinking that it would be the jr team
1/21/2014 1:08:57 PM
tbayfinn says:
The St. John's Icecaps were the Manitoba Moose, the AHL team that would be moved here.
1/21/2014 5:24:11 PM
sky high says:
Thanks tbayfinn, I should have got that together before posting. And congratulations on the junior championship this year. Great accomplishment for such a small country
1/21/2014 6:40:21 PM
ThunderBayIceCaps says:
Thunder Bay needs this. For too long we've sat by and watched our town shrink and age. Young people are leaving because this city is lame and has no prospects for them. Yes, we're in debt but that's because we spent so long hiding our money in the mattress and being complacent instead of spending a few bucks to make things better. Now we're actually acting to make this city better. Gotta spend money to make money people!
1/21/2014 1:35:32 PM
ThunderBayFullOfCrime says:
FWDThinking I can see your agreeing with your own post quite a bit wow lol.

I am pretty sure most of Thunder Bay is against this project. I'm worried about our debt, because it will translate into higher rates and reduced services. The money has to come from somewhere.
1/21/2014 1:36:11 PM
smartguy83 says:
Where you get your information from? Seems to be an unsupported "educated" guess. If people want to vote, that's fine. But I can't see the logic behind not going forward with it. If people think that having a better facility won't keep people here they are dead wrong. An AHL team would keep myself and many of my friends interested in TBay for the long haul. As the city stands right now, there is nothing to do beyond outdoor activities which I am not always interested in.
1/22/2014 9:21:54 AM
Foozer says:
I would like to be the first to express interest in season ticket packages.
1/21/2014 1:52:28 PM
drdolittle says:
Professional sports teams in this city have been so successful in the past I don't see how there's any way this won't go exactly as planned.
1/21/2014 1:56:30 PM
Mango says:
This city needs something to be proud of again and a national sporting franchise of any sport is a great way to have the city rally around something and be positive. Not to mention most franchises in this nature give back to the community and local charities as well. also a new venue that attracts conventions, concerts and numerous other events is also a great thing. If the event centre is built everything in the area will prosper especially the night life and restaurants. I think moving forward with this idea is a great thing, move my taxes up a couple bucks if you have too, I can skip my afternoon coffee once in awhile.
1/21/2014 2:00:20 PM
67mike says:
This is absolutely FANTASTIC for the Hockey capital of Canada! Really good news for the youth of our region.

Now, can we make it profitable????? That is going to be the hard part.....if season tickets to the AHL are "affordable" count me in!
1/21/2014 2:03:53 PM
keiths31 says:
Interesting...

Having True North part of this makes it seem like it could actually happen and we will have an AHL team here. I am not a total supporter of the new event centre or its location, but having major players involved makes me feel better about everything. They know how to manage and fill these buildings. If they can do that and the city gets its investment back and makes money off of this, then I am all for it (in spite of the location)
1/21/2014 2:12:21 PM
cdnbudguy says:
Please Please Please let the people of Thunder Bay Vote for where the event centre is going to be built. The downtown core just isnt the best spot if we are going to be getting more people from out of town coming to our events. I am pretty sure that if someone was to want a hotel close to the event centre the shoreline just doesnt cut it for a brand new multi million dollar building.
1/21/2014 2:16:12 PM
mrcohen says:
Check out where other cities have their arenas/stadiums/convention centres built. Downtown. Accessibility to restaurants, gas stations, hotels, attractions (the waterfront). Couldn't be a better place to put it than the downtown core. The shoreline will be quickly bought out and made into a large hotel chain.
1/21/2014 3:53:29 PM
fastball says:
Um....all that construction that's been going on for the past year? That's a big Delta hotel going up. The Prince Arthur Hotel is 100 meters away. With any luck, the Shoreline will be torn down.
1/21/2014 4:13:31 PM
patti says:
Dude, did you just wake up from a coma ??

There's a new 4 Star Delta Hotel being built 3-5 minutes of walking distance away.
Also consultants have already determined this to be the best location for the Events Center.

DEAL WITH IT !!!!!!!

THIS IS GREAT NEWS FOLKS ........
1/21/2014 4:17:00 PM
ou812 says:
Yeah and guess who will be staying there.. The visiting teams, and they will be wanting to eat a pre-game meal at fine dining establishments (Bight, Gargoyles, Silver Birch) The players that will be living her may scoop up any remaining downtown condos too.

the spin-off money generation will be great!
1/21/2014 9:56:48 PM
smartguy83 says:
You seem to think AHL teams have endless amounts of cash. They don't. They are on strict budgets and financially on their own.

Different sport but try ready Dirk Hayhursts books. He talks about minor league baseball and the struggles to even eat proper meals.

Most AHL players make an average wage if they are lucky, while some may make a lot of be on NHL deals. I highly doubt they will be buying up the condos (which are basically all sold). The out of town teams may even choose to stay elsewhere to stay on budget vs the Delta. Which is totally fine.

Towns such as Nipigon/Red Rock, Atikokan, Schreiber/Terrace Bay love hockey. These are the people who will be spending their weekends in TBay watching our team. Unlike other cities where people can commute home after the games, this can not happen here. Which is where the economy gets a slight boost, hopefully...
1/22/2014 9:28:47 AM
truthseeker says:
One bad move after another by the Winnipeg Jets organization. First they hire Paul Maurice as their head coach than they plan on moving their ahl franchise to thunder bay. Talk about a lose-lose situation. We'll see how long before the Winnipeg jets decide to blow everything up.
1/21/2014 2:22:43 PM
keeptrim says:
That is such a dumb comment. First they hired Maurice and have gone 3 and 0 in their last three games. True North owns their arena and are one of the most successful venues in North America. The Jets are right up there with the big boys with regards to revenue. Now how is this a lose lose situation?
1/21/2014 3:54:44 PM
truthseeker says:
So what the guy(Maurice) is 4-0 as I post this comment . He could go 10-0. Maurice is a recycled coach. He was a failure for the Hartford whalers/Carolina panthers being fired twice there. He was a failure with the maple leafs. He will be fired by the end of next season by the jets , if he lasts that long as coach.

Onto the debacle of relocating an ahl franchise to Thunder Bay according to Tim Commisso to break even the hockey team will have to get 4000 fans EVERY game. Not going to happen when 1/3 of your home games will be on a mon ,tues, wed ,or thurs. Lucky to get 1500 fans during the week to see a bunch of scrubs and JAGs(Just A Guy)play hockey. Ticket prices will be double the amount starting at 25-30 dollars for cheap seats to 60 dollars for good seats if they go to a tiered seat pricing system.

Then you have the argument that the Winnipeg jets will cover most of the expenses if that's the case then why is there such a high relocation rate of ahl franchises?


1/22/2014 7:37:28 AM
truthseeker says:
continued- LU Will be lucky to get 1000 fans at their games if they share the same facility with an ahl club. We'll see how much money they lose. Look at the failure of the flyers/senators when they shared the FW Gardens. The flyers joined the graveyard of hockey franchises soon after the minor pro team joined the graveyard.

AHL franchises relocate that's what they do best. If they do come to thunder bay, they won't last for long. Good luck finding another tenant and good luck paying the multiplex operating costs.

Regarding big name concerts just look at the calendar of events from multi purpose arenas
with the same amount of seating thunder bay is going to have. You multiplex supporters are going to be very disappointed.

I wish las vegas would have a betting line on the success or failure of an ahl team or multiplex in thunder bay because I wouldn't hesitate to put $5000 down that it will be a colossal failure on both accounts.
1/22/2014 7:59:37 AM
bttnk says:
Fantastic news for the city. Keep growing and changing the culture. The Waterfront District and Thunder Bay are growing and it is an exciting time to be a here.
1/21/2014 2:29:59 PM
Imagine says:
This announcement is such a 'good news story' for Thunder Bay and the region. This partnership will help the City with a new event and conference centre - we certainly couldn't do it without private partners.
1/21/2014 2:36:38 PM
PurpleLeaves says:
Let's all just hope the planners wise up and build the centre at Ennova Park and not down town.
1/21/2014 2:41:43 PM
ou812 says:
Get over it! it has been decided already. Downtown is where its happening. Innova site would need all kinds of other business to start up around it. these new places would be your run of the mill corporate chain restaurant that will out compete local business in other districts leaving more vacant buildings.
1/21/2014 4:12:04 PM
fastball says:
Not gonna happen. Get used to the idea - that boat has sailed.
1/21/2014 4:15:11 PM
Eastender says:
It aint over till the fat lady sings, and from the look of it, she is not going to sing for a while.
1/23/2014 3:09:20 PM
Bluejaysfan says:
As a young Thunder Bay resident this is the kind of news that makes me want to continue residing in Thunder Bay. This is a great day folks.
1/21/2014 2:49:37 PM
yqtyqt says:
Show me the money and I'll believe (or not).

I agree that the Gardens days are numbered. But if things are that attractive, let's lay all the cards on the table. Both short term cards and long term cards. What is in place to guarantee that this will succeed or not?

A long term contract on behalf of the proponent backed by securities would sell me that this won't be a long term burden on taxpayers.
1/21/2014 3:35:08 PM
mrcohen says:
Stadiums and Convention Centres bring in visitors that would not otherwise be visiting our city. During events a wide range of services and supplies are needed, bringing business for local companies. Visitors increase spending on transportation, accommodation, retail, restaurants, entertainment, attractions etc. Holding a meeting for influential business executives who get to see the city for themselves will promote the city far more than years of marketing. The more events downtown, the more security/police on hand, decreasing criminal activity. Not to mention all the jobs that will be created for those who live in Thunder Bay. All the while, helping Lakehead University Athletics.
1/21/2014 3:35:46 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Congratulations to the Thunder Bay Construction Association!

My deepest sincere sympathies to the local taxpayers.

CRONIES WIN AGAIN!
1/21/2014 3:43:24 PM
Dockboy says:
All those supporters seem to be on the band wagon here. This deal is far from shovel ready, at least I hope it is. I want information on funding, the citizens of Thunder Bay cannot support this venture at this time.
1/21/2014 3:52:19 PM
jimmyjames says:
I like it. As someone else said, as a young person it makes me want to stay here a bit more. I agree that downtown isn't the ideal location but innova park is worse. Let's all go to the game, walk outside and do...nothing. I understand things will be built there but there isn't a whole lot that can be done. Downtown at least has some nightlife.

Also, please don't name the team the Thunder Bay Icecaps, Thunder Bay Thunder _______(whatever), or Thunder Bay ______ cats. Please.
1/21/2014 4:05:48 PM
conker2012 says:
The difference between AHL and all the other previous ""professional"" hockey we have had is the salary of the players. Many AHL players have entry or full NHL salaries. This means they have money and will be living in thunder bay.

More people living in condos or big houses. This means more tax revenue for the city. Let's just hope that the city doesn't continue to squander it on urban sprawl.

Fill the waterfront (from Cascades Fine Papers to TBGS). Will all new development before anything gets approved west of the expressway. The planning department is killing the tax payers with roads and pipes.
1/21/2014 4:11:06 PM
ibrando says:
Taxpayers, please read the following before getting excited about this announcement. Think it can't happen in Thunder Bay?

http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Abbotsford+Heat+financial+losing+streak+cost+taxpayers+million+last+season/9359870/story.html
1/21/2014 4:12:56 PM
bluejaysfan says:
ibrando, part of the problem in Abbotsford is that most hockey fans in this area support the Canucks and despise the Calgary flames who run the Abbotsford team. Plus it's only an hour drive to go Vancouver and see a real NHL game. In Thunder Bay you're looking at 6 and a half hours or 8 hours of driving or a pricy flight to catch pro hockey.
1/21/2014 9:23:50 PM
fastball says:
Before the usual crowd get their panties in a collective twist as they moan and whine about the usual - let's pay attention to the last lines - "Nothing is set in stone. The provincial and federal governments must come through with a portion of the expected cost or the project is likely dead.."
Yeah, I'd like to see something new built - something that will enhance this city for the next few decades, and maybe make TBay a marquee venue for some attractions. Would be nice to have a Scotties or a Brier here - maybe some conventions for the hotel and restaurant crowd. Added income for the city is never a bad thing.
1/21/2014 4:26:13 PM
bmkay says:
True North is a class act and they do things right. Have seen many "Manitoba Moose" games and of course it is not NHL caliber but it is very good entertainment for the price.
Other than the players, the AHL team also has an extensive full time staff that would be living/spending in T. Bay.
1/21/2014 4:35:34 PM
double-dion says:
I know its already taken but can we pull some strings and agree on the Thunder Bay Bombers?
Winnipeg Jets and Thunder Bay Bombers.
Sign Carl Racki as the teams first captain.
1/21/2014 4:57:10 PM
mhouston says:
Anyone complaining about this needs a reality check. This move is to ensure that this arena gets built. Once built the AHL affiliate for the Winnipeg Jets is moving here, which will be good for not only the economy, but for people looking for work. The arena will be an attraction for other sporting events, the Brier, Scotties, World Juniors etc. It could also bring in NHL pre-season games such as in smaller places throughout Canada and the US.

Thunder Bay has missed having a hockey team, and for a hockey hot bed like Thunder Bay having an AHL team would be amazing. That in itself would help grow the sport even more in our city. Junior A hockey would see a boost in attendance, Thunderwolves would see a boost, plus with such a draw to the AHL franchise there would very likely be a boost in minor hockey registration. Back in the 90's when Thunder Bay had a hockey team, minor hockey registration was huge! It is still big and a lot bigger than other cities but not as high.
1/21/2014 5:16:16 PM
The Beaver..... says:
we got a real problem supporting one Hockey team and a real problem supporting one Auditorium. Think about that
1/21/2014 5:23:15 PM
musicferret says:
My condolences to the taxers. You know this will go over budget, even with its already sky-high gouging level estimated cost.
You also know that the annual loss will be much more than $1m.

Plebiscite! NOW!
1/21/2014 5:27:30 PM
donnybrook says:
I had spaghetti and hotdogs for supper.
1/21/2014 5:35:49 PM
tudor says:
This was a great move by the City.

First they sell everyone on the idea that the gardens is no longer any good even though they are looking for ways to use the building. That one puzzles me. No vote by the taxpayer.

Then they say the only choice is downtown PA. No vote by the taxpayer.

Then they enter into an agreement in principle for a new team if the building gets built. Again, taxpayer is watching.,

Then the coupe de gras this will only get built if the province and feds come to the table. So if they don't come through with the funding, it wasn't the city who did it, it was somebody else.

All this in an election year.

Well done I say.

By the by, I am not for or against a new facility but I believe in two things

1. the taxpayer should have a say, yes or no
2. If yes, the taxpayer should have a say on location

But I suppose our mayor, city manager and council know what is best for us. No need for an election. Just acclaim yourselves for another term.
1/21/2014 6:08:21 PM
anvil of crom says:
I have been to "thinktank" whiteboard meetings, where at the end when you now have a focus of all that day long work by many people, you have the suspicious idea that's what the people holding the meeting intended in the first place.

That you were led you along a garden path to make you think that every option was on the table when in fact there was only one way it was going to ever go.
BUT this event centre debate was even more transparent.
Everyone here on this board knew the end result right?
We knew the city would do this. That's what really bugs me.
And it will get built no matter what.
1/21/2014 7:25:36 PM
Wolfie says:
"No vote by the taxpayer"

We elected the current council to make these big decisions for us. Who elected the council? Why, taxpayers of course.

If you want a referendum on everything, what is the point of having an elected government? Why not just convene a vote every time there is a decision to be made?

There is nothing undemocratic about this process. Like you say, it is an election year. If the anti-arena crowd wants to kill this thing, then run a slate of anti-arena candidates and get them elected democratically.

Good luck with that.
1/21/2014 9:58:59 PM
Tiredofit says:
Get this done without raising my taxes and I'll give my support, however given my taxes have more than doubled since 2000 I don't see it happening.

These groups want it? Let them pay the larger portion of the costs. The city can't afford anymore tax increase to support private industries such as these. We already have pending lawsuits and potential ones in the works.
If we can afford this, then build it, but show us how it won't clobber our tax rates!

I'm not in favor of financing someone's personal goal of owning a hockey team! How many taxes incentives have been promised? They don't just move a team because of a new building.
1/21/2014 6:56:20 PM
Whodo says:
WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THE GOV'T WILL NOT FUND AN ARENA.
1/21/2014 7:20:45 PM
Kam River says:
5 years from now when they move to another sucker town and the tax payers we stuck with the bill.
This will not provide jobs, help the people going to the food bank.
Those who need affordable housing.
They are the ones who will be hurt the most my Keith Hobbs our hardest working mayor legacy project.
1/21/2014 7:21:22 PM
friedfishy says:
Exactly what Kam says, what happens when they relocate - which is pretty common.

No sport teams have really ever been successful in this town, who says this one will be? People complain about the cost about going to a damn bordercats game, do you think they are going to spend 100$+ to bring their families to an AHL often enough to keep this project above ground?

I love hockey, I love the idea of having an AHL in my home city - but I hate the idea of allowing these jabronis to make foolish decisions that will cost us each money out of our pockets in the long run when it fails.

That's if it takes off to begin with.
1/21/2014 7:31:44 PM
Dan Dan says:
Who said that community assets need to "break even"? Homes for the Aged provide a service to the community, but they don't generate revenue. Stop looking at a financial disparity as a "loss" and view it as more of a "cost" to have such a fine facility for this city!
1/21/2014 7:35:44 PM
commonsense says:
At the recent public meeting at the Gardens, it was stated that the Gardens was in good condition, and had many years left in it.
Consultant also said that most activities presently taking place at FWG would NOT move to new Event Centre.

So, it seems the group present were allowed to talked themselves into keeping the Gardens also, to allow present uses to continue. There was no "Question and answer" period, no explanation as to WHY we need a new, unaffordable Event Centre when the FWG is still structurally sound.
Yes , new is "nice", but we have greater needs in our City. Renew our roads,sewer systems, and other existing crumbling facilities.

We can't afford to subsidize a hockey team like Abbotsford does. Read about them - a city that guarantees nearly $4M in revenue to the team. Google "Abbotsford heat dipping into public coffers, or "Critics angry as taxpayers forced to prop up Abbotsford Heat Hockey team".

We just can't afford this! Let's respect and renew the Gardens!
1/21/2014 7:52:28 PM
fastball says:
The Gardens is over 50 years old, for god's sake. It's been reviewed, rehauled, refit, refurbished and renovated god-knows-how-many times. The hallways are narrow, the bathrooms are a joke and the locker rooms are an offense - especially the Visitors' dressing room, which is abysmal and an embarrassment. . It doesn't owe us a penny...but now it's time to take Ol' Yeller out behind the woodpile.
You can only put so many bandaids on something.
1/21/2014 8:56:06 PM
tbay87 says:
One article I read said Abbotsford had to sell close to 4000 tickets per game at $20+ to break-even.

The numbers in Thunder Bay may not be the exact same, but remember there are more AHL games, tickets are more expensive, the team will have bad years unlike the strong Thunderwolves hockey program and it's not like the Thunderwolves are selling out every game: is a new arena + better hockey enough to make up for all these downsides?

It would be very cool to see an AHL team in Thunder Bay, but it's going to be a financial disaster. Given Abbotsford's precedent, I imagine the owners would look for the city to cover losses, with the city claiming that they need to do it to avoid an empty arena.

IF a new arena is built, it should be built with the Thunderwolves in mind, not an AHL fantasy. Don't fall into the Phoenix Coyotes / Abbotsford Heat trap of "if we don't give them millions they'll leave, if they leave we have an empty arena costing us millions"
1/21/2014 9:31:30 PM
bttnk says:
The good news for the progressive and growth focused crowd is we now have a mayor and city council that is looking to the future and not allowing progress to be bogged down by the "do nothing crowd" that has crippled this city and kept it in the dark ages for decades. We are moving forward with or without them. You won't find a prosperous city in the world that doesn't have a event/convention with the vast majority located in a downtown core. This is a great day for Thunder Bay.
1/21/2014 8:14:40 PM
nvjgu says:
So what would happen when the anchor tenants move out like in St Johns.
1/21/2014 8:36:21 PM
ThunderBayFullOfCrime says:
Does anyone remember why wwe stopped coming here? I believe our city tried to overprice them.

I have no issue with an events center if it does well but what happens if people can't afford to support this venture? Many ppl here work for minimum wage. What if the hockey team leaves? Will we have to foot the bill? Are events going to want to come to this town in the first place or will the city scare them away with overcharging? I'm excited for the events center but I'm concerned that other major things will be put on the back burner like the hospital situation because we are in too much debt.
1/21/2014 8:37:34 PM
SF2012 says:
"The deal would also include a partnership with Lakehead University that would ensure the survival of the Thunderwolves men’s hockey program."

This ensures they will play in the event centre (should the funding come through) however, "survival" is a bit optimistic. You can't tell me those who are currently support in the thunder wolves are still going to do so or be able to support both teams in this community.
1/21/2014 8:40:08 PM
ou812 says:
I am sure that they will do some sort of package with season tickets with the thunder wolves.
1/23/2014 9:24:02 AM
Rbosch says:
....and let the games begin! The site has been chosen, two potential tenants have been found, a consortium that can manage the facility has been found! The next step is to get Federal and Provincial funding in place to allow it to happen. By the way, @ Whodo, why are you yelling while also being incorrect in your posting. It is true they have said they are not interested in building Arenas, they are supportive of Event Centres, which would be multi-functional. They have done so in the past and are doing so today! We need to let this play out to see what transpires. The basic steps are falling into place in support of the project, which will be presented to the Fedsand Provs. This is just step in a number of them. Let's not get our shorts in a knot.
1/21/2014 8:48:10 PM
liam says:
WHY IS IT ALL CITY COUNCILS WE HAVE HAD THINK SO small.....our only arena (which was fort williams) was the right size for its time and community ...now decades later with fort william and port arthur as one city we are building as if we are in the 1950's again....lets plan for the future of both towns. lets build for a 15% attendance mark ...and why not dream and make north americas only olympic sized rink ...we need new leadership to dream big...by the way ...MORE HOUSEING IS NEEDED FIRST ...just some thoughts
1/21/2014 9:20:15 PM
ring of fire dude says:
With the ThunderBay tax payers being on the hook for most of the funding for the Event Center , we should name it "The poor House".
1/21/2014 9:36:11 PM
Who-cares says:
M. Huston. I think you had better get your facts straight and do some research of different sporting events and how many people they draw. The Brier fills to capacity NHL size rinks that will hold 15 to 20 thousand people and the Scottie's isn't far behind in attendance, Thunder Bay will never host these events again. The brier and Scottie's is big business for all of the sponsors, hosts and the Canadian Curling Association, the revenues these events generate have far outgrown anything that Thunder Bay could offer. As far as world juniors goes you would be lucky to see a few thousand people in the stands and that's only for the evening draws and finals. The juniors would not even come close to breaking even given the rental fees for the arena for a week plus. What else can we host?
1/21/2014 9:50:25 PM
Wolfie says:
Absolutely incorrect. This year's Brier is being held in Kamloops, a smaller city than Thunder Bay and with an arena under 5,500 seats. This year's Scotties is being held in an arena with under 5,000 seats.

Please don't post incorrect information as though it is fact.
1/22/2014 7:16:25 AM
Slickandwet says:
Get a GOOD team name. Not Moose (way too many highway deaths around here), not ThunderCats. "Twins" was good. But maybe there's a good new name out there? Suggestions posters?

Also, CITY be money wise in the fine print: don't get hosed on this. Take care of the finances on this deal so that the City makes money.

Someone from the City Acknowledge that A LOT MORE PARKING is needed. (Downtown PA currently has a deficit of good parking spaces....)
1/21/2014 10:18:08 PM
conker2012 says:
@commonsense

We have already put the money aside for this project. There should not be a significant tax rate increase as a result of the multiplex.

In regards to the Abbotsford Heat there is a unique situation. This team should never have moved that far west. There is no other team in the AHL for 3000kms. This means they have the highest travel costs of any professional sports team in North America. Abbotsford also does not have an international airport so the players have to travel to Vancouver before they can head to an out of town game.

If you look at the divisional map of the AHL, Thunder Bay will likely be in the Midwest Division where the players could travel by bus to divisional games or fly through Chicago.
1/21/2014 10:34:00 PM
grs says:
Haven't looked into it but would all flights be through Chicago? Could be interesting if not with WestJet potentially reducing the amount of seats by bringing in Encore service. That is, if Encore is expected to replace the existing WestJet service rather than complement it.
1/22/2014 8:57:50 AM
Watchful says:
As I have been told many times, if you don't like it get out. Well that is what I am doing, sell the house while it is worth money and moving. Then I can sit back and watch this centre screw the young, just like the Great Ring of Fire. Thunder Bay will need a bulldozer to get out of this mess
1/21/2014 10:57:48 PM
DougMyers says:
One less pessimist, its a start.

Sell that place fast and run far. Attitudes like yours are what caused this city to have the issues it currently is having.

So long and good riddance.
1/22/2014 9:26:52 AM
yqt says:
Inserting read. I guess this was in the works for a while:

POSTED BY ICECAPS ON JANUARY 21, 2014 AT 6:18 PM

The St. John’s IceCaps hockey club would like to ensure season ticket-holders, corporate partners and fans throughout Newfoundland and Labrador it was prepared for and anticipated today’s news regarding the Winnipeg Jets intention to eventually move their American Hockey League franchise for geographic reasons, to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

When the Jets originally placed their AHL affiliate in St. John’s in 2011, it was under the full knowledge and expectation that if Thunder Bay became a viable option (i.e. a suitable building was constructed there) the Jets could move the club to the Northern Ontario city after its current lease in St. John’s expired (in 2015).
1/21/2014 10:58:17 PM
lake superior guy says:
I have to agree with the comment that Thunder Bay needs something to be proud of again but let's remember that this isn't just a hockey rink. If constructed as a properly functioning events centre this will mean a boon for the downtown north side of town. Back when the Community Auditorium was being considered, many felt that this type of event centre should be built as a replacement to the FW Gardens. The "Arts" folk got their way instead and now here we are 30-some years later still thinking of replacing the Gardens. A multi-use facility like this will only help drag this stuck in the past city forward and help build a strong future. As for those that think that the infrastructure of this city is so bad, trying broadening your horizon with a visit to a city other than Duluth or Minneapolis and you'll see what crumbling infrastructure looks like. Quit griping and support some of positive things this city has to offer.
1/21/2014 11:01:14 PM
funinthesun says:
In December I attended an AHL game in Abbotsford. The rink is a beautiful building and the city taxpayers there are also footing the bill for it. Abbotsford Heat (Calgary's farm club) and the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton's farm team played and it was a really good game. Tickets were $26.50 - Parking at lots across the street - $10.00 and an "Angus Dog" (maybe twice the size of an ordinary "dog")with a small side order of fries $9.50, bottled water $3.00. I'm not complaining just letting you know what to expect. My guess as to attendance that night was maybe 1,500 people. When Utica (Vancouver farm team) plays they said the rink is packed.
1/21/2014 11:31:41 PM
unknowncronik says:
hahahha 5600 seats is too small.... once this small baby arena gets built, the first complaint will be why is it so small?

Oh yea, we the people have no say in where its getting built, were only left to worry about paying for it...just sad!
1/22/2014 4:22:59 AM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
So how much extra will be put on the students tuition if Lakehead University is a part of this?

Do you honestly think these students who come to study want to pay for an arena thru tuition?
Don't think so!

Its disturbing because we the taxpayers of Thunder Bay will be left holding the bag.
1/22/2014 4:30:53 AM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
I forgot to mention, if this arena is built @ the marina(hope not), it will bring a road block near Simpson Street so visitors just wont see it when they try to "see the town".
1/22/2014 4:39:07 AM
fastball says:
I read the exact same comments in newspapers across North America when this exact same topic comes up. Every town has its share of "concerned citizens" that point to the potholes or the sidewalks, or the rusty bridges when talk of building a new facility like this comes to the forefront.
Granted, we'd all love all this stuff to be fixed - but it's a never-ending cycle. By the time you fixed the last pothole in town, it's time to start RE-fixing them. There's NEVER a good time to build facilities with tax dollars. But realistically, Bill Gates isn't going to drop from the skies and donate 100M dollars. So you do your due diligence - you get consultants and professionals to find the right location, which lines up with the city's vision for the next few decades. You create partnerships, get sponsorships, appeal for donations and solicit money from senior levels of government. That's the RESPONSIBLE way to approach this...and to me, that's the way this project has progressed locally.
1/22/2014 10:25:25 AM
truthseeker says:
a tidbit of information for all the multiplex supporters . It took st. johns 6 years to get another ahl team after the leafs pulled out of there. Going to be a lot of dark nights when the jets give up on this town due to poor to pitiful attendance. True North Sports and Entertainment would be wise to keep St. Johns or any place in Saskatchewan, Alberta, or the U.S. Midwest on speed dial because they'll be dialing them up sooner than later if they make the mistake of coming to this lousy sports town when it comes to fan support.
1/22/2014 11:46:28 AM
sd says:
I would like to go on record to make people aware that when I post with the username sd that I am not the same user as S Duncan. In previous articles I have posted that my real name is Scott Duncan because I do not feel the need to hide true identity. I would challenge this person who is going by the username S Duncan to share his true identity as well because it would seem that many people take issue with his comments, his clearly out of line way of doing so, and his need to hate everything that happens in the world. Once he has publicly named himself on this site I then challenge him to run for some form of political office be it Municipal, Provincial, or Federal because it would seem to me that his opinions are far superior to everyone else and that he would do a better job. So S Duncan stop hiding...make yourself known...run for office and save the world
1/22/2014 11:59:23 AM
bay of blunders says:
How about naming the team the "THUNDER BAY RUMBLERS" thunder rumbles and powerful teams can rumble :-)
1/22/2014 12:46:01 PM
bay of blunders says:
Or this would be a cool name considering the city is overlooked by the nor'wester mountain range.

The "Thunder Bay Nor'Westers"
1/22/2014 12:51:26 PM
livewire says:
Wait for the New Mayor and City Council to Decide it's fate!
1/22/2014 12:56:58 PM
fastball says:
This weighty decision - and apparently all other decisions in the future, warrant a plebiscite!
1/22/2014 1:37:15 PM
common_sense says:
Well after reading through all these comments I've thought of the perfect name for the team...

Thunder Bay NIMBY's
1/22/2014 12:58:37 PM
NewAgeOutlaw says:
I am not sure why there are so many people who are against everything in this city. People complain that there is nothing to do, so we try to get an event center and an AHL team, but that is not good enough. This city has 1 major problem....its RESIDENTS
1/22/2014 2:17:56 PM
tiredofit says:
Why? Because we're tired of being gouged every year on our tax assessments by the city. Show us how this won't be a heavy burden on our taxes and you'll see a hell of a lot more support in this city, however reality is, they can't because they know they'll have to raise our taxes yet again. Enough is enough. Have these consortiums who are so interested in it pay for it!
1/22/2014 3:59:57 PM
sd says:
PACK YOUR BAGS AND LEAVE THIS TOWN
Everyone who is on here and complains about everything going wrong here LEAVE
And when you have found the utopia you all feel exists come back on the site and inform all us folks living on the street because we were so heavily taxed
1/22/2014 4:08:17 PM
ibrando says:
Exactly right tiredofit.
Probably wasting your time though. New Age's mom pays the taxes in their house , so he really wouldn't get what you are trying to say. Only focused on having something exciting to do with all of the saved up allowance.
1/22/2014 4:47:28 PM
Jimmyjames says:
So why don't you move outside the city limits? Then you won't have to pay for it and can still enjoy it.
1/23/2014 8:09:47 AM
sd says:
Has anyone noticed that after all the disagreement towards S Duncan and since he was called out he has gone silent...that is except to continually "agree" with his own comments over and over again?
1/22/2014 4:46:12 PM
S Duncan says:
You called nobody "out" except yourself. Im still here.

I told you before nobody gives a crap what my or your names are.

My name is Scott, so we share the same names. Big deal.

If you wanted everybody to know your real name you should have used it instead of "sd". I at least had the nuts to use mine.

I stand by all my comments and will make them and more right to yours or any bodies face.
1/23/2014 8:52:15 AM
patti says:
FYI ~ The AHL minimum salary is 40K ~ LET ME REPEAT THAT AGAIN ** MINIMUM **

Also ....
The AHL per diem allowance for each Player accompanying his team while he is away from his home city for the purpose of playing a regular season or post-season game is as follows:

- 2010-11 – $65
- 2011-12 – $65
- 2012-13 – $67
- 2013-14 – $67
1/22/2014 8:55:25 PM
SandHawk says:
How about this for all the people that are complaining to much, We scrap the whole idea about getting a new arena built, Then we don't have to worry about a AHL team coming here, Or have any bigger events for the city. Will just sit around and watch the Gardens fall apart, And then here is the best part of the new plan, We won't have to worry about forking out any money to go see anymore live hockey games, Cause we don't have a arena anymore, We don't have to worry about taxes going up, and we SAVE butt load of money!....
1/23/2014 7:41:10 AM
truthseeker says:
According to city administration, they believe an ahl team in thunder bay will be successful because of its close proximity to Winnipeg. Abbotsford is a 45 minute plane ride from where their nhl parent club the Calgary flames are and are losing lots of money.

A lot of ahl teams are a stones throw away from their parent Nhl clubs along the east coast from Portland maine to charlotte north Carolina. Why the high amount of relocation rates and teams folding in the ahl?

Here are 1 article and a council report on the deal the city of abbotsford made with the Calgary flames. I'd be concerned thunder bay taxpayers.

http://blogs.theprovince.com/2012/11/01/editorial-taxpayers-burned-by-abbotsford-heat-deal/

https://abbotsford.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?Id=29808&Search=1&Result=2
1/23/2014 9:11:34 AM
bttnk says:
@ truthseeker - You'd have to live in Abbotsford or the GVA to understand why they are failing. They are one of about a dozen different options for high level hockey in the area. Outside of hockey they don't do much in the way of "other events" There are literally hundreds of other options for conventions and other live events, most of which are in Vancouver or somewhere closer to Vancouver.
1/24/2014 9:47:54 AM
festus says:
Thunder Bay needs this "Even Center" With the partners they have it will be great. Will bring more "Events" not just hockey or sports related but concerts, plays perhaps WWE too.
1/23/2014 1:42:05 PM
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