Hockey group seeks ice rink management

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— With a little chip off the town budget, the Oak Creek Hockey Association has agreed to take on the responsibility of maintaining the ice rink in the winter as well as supervising a possible Friday night public skate.

"We will and we want to take over management of the rink," Oak Creek Hockey Association's Tim Corrigan said to the Oak Creek Board of Trustees.

Corrigan was told by the board last month to return on Oct. 12 with a proposal of how the rink will be managed. If the association can, Corrigan said members had agreed to take over the rink 100 percent during the hockey season.

However, that doesn't mean the town is out of the deal.

"I think the devil is in the details and that's what we have to go over," Corrigan said.

First and foremost, Corrigan asked the trustees to give the Hockey Association $3,800. That's the same amount of money the town spent to contract someone to do upkeep at the rink and warming hut. Corrigan believes the club's volunteers would do a better job cleaning and locking the warming hut at the rink.

"I think the person we have now would do a good job," Mayor Deb VanGundy replied.

However, Corrigan wanted the money so the Hockey Association could invest it in maintaining better ice.

Coincidentally, the Hockey Association is paying back the town for a Zamboni purchase it made in $3,800 payments. Corrigan asked that the Hockey Association be released from those annual payments in return for doing the work.

Also, the Hockey Association wants the town to continue plowing the street the rink is on, provide electricity for the warming hut and rink, negotiate a deal for an additional snowblower and be released from the responsibility of long-term maintenance needed for the rink and warming hut.

The Hockey Association also agreed to post a sign informing people to stay out of the rink during non-supervised times. They also will organize and supervise a time when the public can skate. But scheduling a time may be difficult for that, Corrigan said.

Four south Routt hockey teams each need three hours of ice time between Monday and Thursday for practice. On Saturdays, the teams play games in the morning and between noon and 5 p.m. the ice isn't good for skating.

The best time to hold a public skate would be Friday and maybe Saturday night, Corrigan said.

New trustee Carol Montoya reminded Corrigan that last year some games were scheduled on Friday nights, which could pose a problem if the Hockey Association is agreeing that to be one of the only nights for public skating.

Corrigan said that could be avoided. He also suggested the public skating be free.

Trustees have discussed the possibility of charging for public skating in hopes of collecting some revenue from the facility.

"It'd rather not charge for public ice time. I think it would discourage the use of the rink," Corrigan said.

He also said it would be impossible to charge other users, such as teams in Steamboat, for ice time because there is no guarantee there would be time or that ice conditions would make it worthwhile.

The Hockey Associations proposal to take on responsibility was presented in a work session, so trustees could not vote to pass it.

But the trustees were receptive.

"You haven't asked anything from us that I don't think we can't supply," Trustee Mike Kien said.

VanGundy and the other trustees agreed.

"We would like to get something set in stone soon so kids know what time they can go skate," VanGundy said.

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