The Lincoln Mavericks have skated another stride toward taking to the ice at the Fleming Centre this fall after Lincoln town council approved a proposal from team owner Jeff Tallman on Monday night.
The decision was not without serious consideration of the impact to existing user groups such and the men’s league and Lincoln Minor Hockey
Lincoln CAO Mike Kirkopoulos said town hall and council itself received a great deal of feedback pro and con on the proposal.
“The issue came down to a loss of ice time” said Kirkopoulos.
“I heard from folks in every corner of the community, and even cousins and family members involved in hockey. I had cousins who played for the Erie Otters, Brock, and everyone was advising and providing me their thoughts.”
“We were tasked with looking at this purely operationally and talking to all stakeholders. Some 50-plus hours spent on weekends and throughout the last two months analyzing this issue. It has been with Council for over a year, with staff being sent back numerous times to seek further information and further negotiate.”
The communication and analysis will not stop there.
“Next, and simultaneously, meet with LHMA and all the users to advise them of the approved time slots and associated changes and engage in negotiations on the needed time slots,” said Kirkopoulos.
“Staff will also continue conversations with all user groups and continue ongoing monitoring of all programming. We need to prepare for possible future growth.
For Tallman, he looks forward to working with the Town and hockey fans in the community.
“For about a year-and-a-half, we have been busy laying the groundwork and taking the different aspects of the operation to a certain point, then finding it necessary to stop, because we didn’t have ice,” said Tallman, noting he is pleased the hurdle has been cleared.
“Since the vote last night we have been overwhelmed with calls, texts, emails and various other messages of congratulations and it is very satisfying to know that the work done up until now, is going somewhere.”
Kirkopoulos noted the town will also be reviewing the relationship between Jordan Arena and the Fleming Centre in terms of developing principles which apply to both facilities.
As well, he said the Town has put in its due diligence on this project.
“The Town must be protected in any financial agreement it enters into, and the culture and desirability and match of any new team must also be taken into account,” said Kirkopoulos.
With the agreement in place, Tallman is ready to go.
“We are a new business in town so we are laying a lot of groundwork. Planning meetings will start tomorrow (Wednesday) evening. We will be looking for game night volunteers. We will be setting operational schedules, contracts, and prioritizing things that need to get done.”