I have watched with fascination the ongoing debate between the Simon group, St. John’s Sports and Entertainment (SJSE) and the MacDonald group over the issues surrounding bringing an ECHL team to St. John’s for the 2018 hockey season. Clearly there is something amiss when SJSE, a municipally established entity of our city, is allowing the Simon group to circumvent the establishment of a hockey franchise that will bring potentially millions of dollars to the city as well as much needed employment for the next number of years.
Has the city forgotten that Mile One stadium was built using local taxpayers’ dollars and is currently subsidized by taxpayers’ dollars? Why are the so-called powers that be at city hall not standing up to support a local organization, with a proven track record and success in hockey?
Prior to the Edge franchise leasing Mile One, there was a minimal number of nights that the stadium was utilized. Taxpayers of this city have been subsidizing an empty building for years! Now there is a basketball franchise that has a lease agreement for 20 game nights this year and, according to the Mile One event calendar, only eight other booked events for 2018. I guess we should be grateful! What happens for the other 300-plus nights of the year? Will the taxpayers again be paying for an empty building? Why does so many events stop at other Atlantic cities and not come to St. John’s?
Clearly you have a local group that has the expertise and has obviously put time and money into bringing hockey back to Mile One, but yet this city, in its wisdom, is not supporting them. What a travesty! Once again, we would rather give our money and business to an international group with no local ties to our city than support our own.
The residents of this city have a right to know what is going on at Mile One.