Council passes by-law to bring Cornwall Nationals to Civic Complex

Nick Seebruch
Council passes by-law to bring Cornwall Nationals to Civic Complex
Rodney Rivette

CORNWALL, Ontario – At a special meeting of Cornwall City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 14, Council entered into a rental agreement with the Cornwall Nationals, a hockey team expected that is to be added to the Federal Hockey League (FHL) in the very near future.

The deal given to the proposed Cornwall Nationals is the same as the one given to the River Kings before they folded. They get the same amount of ice-time and 30 percent of the revenue from the ad space in the Civic Complex. The Cornwall Colts receive the remaining 70 percent of ad revenue.

According to the City, the lease agreement with the Cornwall Nationals will bring in an additional revenue of $37,042.07 for the City.

During deliberations on the proposed by-law Councillor Claude McIntosh asked who the owner was, to which Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy replied “that is not an issue of council.”

The Mayor explained that liability for the agreement would be on the signatories, namely Rodney Rivette and Mitch Gagné. In the proposal presented to Council Rivette was named as the future President of the Cornwall Nationals Hockey Club.

Councillor Denis Carr asked if this was just the same agreement that the River Kings had, why was it necessary for Council to pass a by-law at all.

The CAO, Maureen Adams, explained that there was more to this agreement that just renting ice-time.

“There are a variety of matters that make this more than just a simple rental agreement such as opportunities for shared advertising and agreeing on house keeping issues such as who is responsible for cleaning up after games,” she explained. “All of this requires approval from Council.

“The biggest thing is liability, which requires insurance,” the Mayor added. “I asked the same thing as to why we needed to pass a by-law, but it is not as simple as that.”

The Council ultimately passed the by-law unanimously.

In a press scrum held after he signed the lease agreement, Rivette said he was relieved to be one step closer to brining an FHL team to Cornwall.

“This is great,” he said. “This unanimous vote shows Council’s commitment to hockey in Cornwall. Our mission is to try and get something on the ice for families. I want it to be a family thing.”

When asked why he believed the team would do better, he said that because the FHL was structured differently than the LNAH, the Cornwall Nationals would be more financially viable than the River Kings were.

Rivette did not disclose who the owner of the new team will be but said that all would be revealed at a press conference on Saturday, at 5p.m. in a location to be determined.

The FHL is currently an all-American hockey league and Rivette said that that is where the name “Nationals” came from.

“Cornwall will be representing Canada in these games,” he said. “Every game will be a Canada-U.S. game.”

During the meeting, Councillor Marc MacDonald asked if the Colts were informed about this move, to which he was told that they were not consulted.

Colts owner Ian MacInnis was sitting in the room during the meeting.

“We respect the Colts organization,” Rivette said later. “It’s been here for 25 years. You’ll see how much we respect the Colts organization on Saturday. I think that will show how we feel about the Cornwall Colts.”

Rivette also stated that the Cornwall Nationals will be an expansion team for the FHL built entirely from scratch.

The FHL is seven years old and currently has six teams, including one in Watertown, New York.

Rivette said that he believed that the FHL was looking to add another two teams in North Carolina and in Ohio.

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