Top News

ROBIN SHORT: You want to manage Mile One? Here’s the keys

Mile One Centre never looks better than it did for the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier. Events have been few and far between ever since, though if private business were to undertake operation of the building, it might get busier.
Mile One Centre never looks better than it did for the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier. Events have been few and far between ever since, though if private business were to undertake operation of the building, it might get busier. - Keith Gosse

Expensive suites, entertaining hoops, antsy ushers and more

Let’s see. For the next five-plus months, we’ve got five events at Mile One Centre. That’s not including the St. John’s Edge, and the 12 regular-season games remaining on home court after tonight’s tilt.

 

 

 

So if I’m city council, I’m absolutely considering options from one or possibly two groups — one led by Dean MacDonald, who’s keen on bringing the ECHL to St. John’s, and the other by the current owners of the Edge, who have eyes for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — who are also expressing interest in managing the building.

 

Mile One Centre is the most under-utilized facility of its kind in Canada, and the priciest for its size in the country.

It’s never been more evident that the current operational model isn’t working. Acts are new are far between. No more World Curling Tour events. Not even the Herder. The building wasn’t intended for walkers and general skaters.

An outside, business-savvy group, which may or may not be partnered with one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, might be what’s needed to shed some light on a dark rink …

Nobody asked me, but …

Oh, one more point about Mile One: a longtime acquaintance called this week, ringing not on behalf of the company he represents, but as a taxpayer. Why, he wondered aloud, do the vast majority of the suites at Mile One remain empty? He has a sneaking suspicion. It would cost his company just shy of $40,000 to rent a box for the year, “and for what, 20 games of basketball and Johnny Reid?” He’s also perplexed as to why Mile One suite rentals and Edge sponsorship are not intertwined. “I could spend a large amount of money for a suite, yet my competitor, after doing business with the Edge, could have advertising all around the floor. This makes no sense.” … Not sure if there are enough die-hard curling fans out there who would support a world curling championship minus local representation. No doubt the locals would be behind Reid Carruthers, for example, if he represented Canada, but the support would only be a spit in the bucket compared to what the Brad Gushue team received at the Brier last year …

I lied. Yet another thing about Mile One. Why is it the ushers and security staff are ready to boot patrons out the door immediately after a hockey or basketball game? I’ve seen this now since the place opened back in 2001. There’s obviously a directive coming from somewhere, but why? Not that people can expect to hang around for an hour, or even 30 minutes, but this ‘C’mon, c’mon, get out’ right after the game ends is a bit much, no? In all the arenas I’ve visited — and there’s been a lot — I’ve never encountered that … Most interesting rink I’ve seen is The Scope in Norfolk, Va., and here’s why: After hockey games, the chain gang comes in to clean up. True. Prisoners in orange jumpsuits, overseen by shotgun-toting guards, clean the building, filling up large, green garbage bags with leftover popcorn, presumably to bring back to the boys at the inn … So, will the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association be paying a bit more attention to its officials program now that the National Basketball League of Canada has essentially said the locals aren’t good enough to work its games? … Expect the Halifax Mooseheads to put a full-court press on this summer to land Alex Newhook. The Herd has Newhook’s rights, and are building for a 2019 Memorial Cup run. Halifax is expected to play host to the Canadian junior hockey championship that year. You can be sure Halifax will also mention to Newhook it groomed 2017 and 2013 No. 1 overall picks Nico Hischier and Nathan MacKinnon, and Filip Zadina, who will be a top five pick in June …

Someone said the other day the basketball down at Mile One is more entertaining than the hockey. I don’t know but I agree. Took in my first Edge game this week — missed the first four because I was away covering the Olympic Trials — and credit to the players and Edge management for throwing off a good show. The problem with hockey is the game itself. It’s become boring, from the NHL on down. Coaches have choked the life out of the game, with all their systems and stuff. Creativity has gone the way of the dodo bird … We keep hearing how important goalies are to the success of a team. Shoddy goaltending is one of the reasons, it’s been said, for Ottawa’s free fall. If goaltending is so critical — and teams do not win a Cup without great goaltending — why, then, won’t teams draft a goaltender in the first round (for the most part), and why is there outrage when teams dish out big money to a netminder? …

 

Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email rshort@thetelegram.com Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort

Recent Stories