Bracebridge approves lease with Muskoka Bears Junior C Hockey Club
Bracebridge General Committee agreed to lease the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre (MLCC) ice rink to the Muskoka Bears Junior C Hockey Club, in the November 7, 2023, meeting.
The Committee agreed to a 5-year term with the club, which is a member of the Provincial Junior Hockey League, starting from August 1, 2024, to May 31, 2029.
Mayor, Rick Maloney, and the Director of Corporate Services/Clerk are authorized to extend the agreement for an additional 5 years, from August 1, 2029, to May 31, 2034, in accordance with the terms.
Maloney said, “This is really a community-based team.” However, he expressed concerns due to challenges the Town has had with hockey clubs over the past decade. He inquired about whether there would be financial protection in place with the current agreement and emphasized the importance of ensuring financial responsibility with payments.
Director of Recreation and Development, Cindy O’Regan, advised that the team is governed by the league. She said, “It’s quite a rigorous process they have to go through with the league and to be approved.”
O’Regan indicated that she also had discussions with the committee while putting the team together, and “they are dedicated to the community, and they want to make this work.”
She added that independently owned teams are different than community owned like this one.
Maloney indicated that ownership makes a difference. He said, “I want the franchise to have all the opportunity to be successful.”
Councillor, Archie Buie, expressed excitement about the team and arrangement. He inquired about whether the contract will maintain approvals. He said, “You can’t lose approvals and maintain the contract.”
O’Regan assured him the contract ensures that.
Maloney expressed enthusiasm about the impact the arrangement can have on the community. He said, “When you look at what the MLCC can mean to our community. This is another component - to see hockey rinks filled with excited members.”