The Blue Mountains council will be considering a 30 per cent arena discount for the new Georgian Bay Applekings.
The Applekings are Thornbury’s new senior AA hockey team that will be playing at the Beaver Valley Community Centre every Saturday night. Team co-president Mackenzie Fleming was a delegation at council’s committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 25 and requested consideration for a discount on the fees the team will be charged to use the arena.
“We’re pretty excited to be back here, it’s been a long time coming,” said Fleming.
Thornbury has not had a senior AA team since the Georgian Bay River Rats ceased playing in 2007. The Applekings will be playing in the Ontario Elite Hockey League (formerly the OHA Senior AA League). Their home games will be at the arena in Thornbury on Saturday nights at 5:30 p.m.
The team’s season kicks off this Saturday (Sept. 30) with the Applekings playing a River Rats alumni team. The club’s first home game of the season is Oct. 14 against the Creemore Coyotes. Tickets for the games are $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-18 years old and children under five are free. Full details about upcoming games can be found on the team’s Facebook page here.
Fleming, is also a player on the team and played in the league last year with Shallow Lake, said the goal of the organization is to create a family-friendly local hockey team for local residents of all ages to cheer on.
“We really want to be those local heroes to the kids growing up,” he said. “We’re trying to keep it as local as possible.
Many of the players on the team live along the Highway 26 corridor from Owen Sound to Collingwood. The club has secured 48 hours of ice time at the arena. Fleming requested that council consider a 30 per cent discount to the ice time costs for the first two years.
“This will help us get off the ground,” he said.
Council unanimously passed a resolution to ask for a staff report on the possibility of an ice time discount. Ryan Gibbons, director of community services, said in the past similar discounts have been given to local organizations starting out. Staff told council at full price the team would pay $8,678.40 for the ice time. The discount would lower that amount to $6,074.88, a reduction of $2,603.52.
Staff also noted that the Saturday night ice time has not been used extensively since the River Rats ended play years ago.
Although a formal decision on the discount was not made at the meeting, members of council were clearly leaning towards helping the team with the ice time costs.
“This is very, very exciting,” said Coun. Gail Ardiel, who recalled attending River Rats games. “It was an event the whole community went to. Thank you for bringing this back. We need it for the town.”
Fleming also told council the hockey team plans to launch a youth initiative in 2024 that will see funds dedicated towards helping parents with hockey-related costs like registration, gear and travel.
By Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Sep 25, 2023 at 17:00