New semi-pro hockey team for Cornwall in the works

Nick Seebruch
New semi-pro hockey team for Cornwall in the works
Centre ice at the Civic Complex (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council passed a by-law at their Sept. 12 meeting to allow unnamed proponents to enter into negotiations with an unnamed semi-pro hockey league to bring a new team to Cornwall.

Specifically, the by-law creates a rental agreement for the Civic Complex between the City of Cornwall and these unnamed proponents

The interested parties could not be named as the negotiations were ongoing.

The measure was added as a New Business item to the meeting and the Council had to vote to suspend normal rules in order to vote on the by-law right away.

The need for this rush is because the unnamed proponents needed to inform the hockey league in-question that they had some form of guarantee from the City before negotiations could go further.

Councillor Maurice Dupelle spoke in favour of the new rental agreement.

“This is about generating revenue for the City and would not cost the City money,” he said. “It is about a rental agreement with the Civic Complex. The interested party at least has to be able to tell the league by tomorrow that a motion was passed.”

The by-law gives these proponents the same terms that the Cornwall River Kings had to work with before they folded two weeks ago.

“We are just replacing Team A w/ Team B,” explained Councillor Claude McIntosh.

Councillor Elaine MacDonald then asked if it was as simple as swapping one team for another, why a new by-law was needed at all.

“Like the River Kings agreement, it requires a special by-law. There are other things involved than just renting the ice,” Mayor Leslie O’Shaugnessy said.

During the conversation over the new by-law, Councillor Andre Rivette excused himself due to a conflict. Namely, that his son Rodney was involved in these negotiations.

Rodney Rivette was sitting in the audience throughout the meeting and gave a little fist pump when the by-law was unanimously passed.

During an impromptu press scrum outside of the Council Chambers after the vote, Rivette said that he could not disclose a lot of details at the moment because negotiations were ongoing, but said that a press conference would be happening in the very near future.

Rivette did disclose some details however.

“This team will not be the same as the River Kings,” he said. “The group involved in this project is much smaller than what we tried to do with the River Kings.”

Before the River Kings folded, Rivette had tried to raise $500, 000 per year for five years to fund the team. The plan to do this was to make the River Kings into a fan supported and fan-owned team.

Rivette had sought to find 1, 000 individuals to commit to paying $500 per year for five years to keep the River Kings alive. The River Kings’ league, the LNAH, gave Rivette one-week to raise the money. Ultimately the plan fell short, but not before raising $150, 000 in four days.

From what Rivette said, it sounds like the group funding this new team is much smaller.

Rivette said that the current idea began right after the end of the River Kings.

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