All week, fans of the AIHL and the Gold Coast Blue Tongues have been concerned about the immediate future of the Queensland franchise. The club has now released information on their plans, Andrew Hewitt with more.
Last weekend news broke that shattered the hearts of hockey fans around the country when the Sydney Ice Dogs reported that the AIHL had announced the Gold Coast Blue Tongues would not be taking part in the 2013 AIHL season.
The League responded the following evening by stating that the claims were incorrect, however after the events of the last 24 hours, the possibility of the AIHL temporarily returning to an eight team competition may actually be a real one.
The Blue Tongues released a statement yesterday via their email newsletter which suggested that neither statements were correct.
The statement outlined a number of options which despite not all being finalised, fans will feel pleased with being kept in the loop.
Confirmed through HSN’s correspondence with Blue Tongues General Manger Dave Emblem, there are options available to the team to take the ice in the 2013 season. While two of those could not be confirmed, one option would be to temporarily relocate to Brisbane for the 2013 season in the Acacia Ridge facility that they had used in the latter half of the 2012 campaign.
This option would require the Blue Tongues to play their home games at the late time slot of 10:30PM, the same as they had in their 2012 relocation. Emblem pointed out that this option however is simply not a viable one for the organisation.
“The majority of our sponsors are Gold Coast based, and that time just wouldn’t get us the sponsor revenue we need to be commercially viable for a season” Emblem said.
As for staying on the Gold Coast and reaching a deal with operators at their former home at Boondall, this too was not an option.
“We were also unable to secure ice time at Boondall” added the Gold Coast GM.
Rumors have long been circulating regarding the possibility of a new facility on the Gold Coast and Mr Emblem, who has recently returned from a trip to the hockey mad city of Montreal was able to confirm these to an extent.
“We are currently working on an option to construct a temporary facility that would meet all AIHL venue criteria, and we are aiming to make this decision by the end of the month.
“This option of an AIHL approved temporary facility for next year is to give us the time required to finalise an agreement for a brand new facility on the Gold Coast which would be open in time for the 2014 season.” said Mr Emblem
The Blue Tongues added to this in their statement to their fans confirming that Mr Emblem will be joining the Gold Coast City Council Mayor’s Trade Mission to Asia next month to continue discussions with potential investors for a permanent arena. The Gold Coast Ice Sports Stadium would include two ice rinks, gymnasium, sports bar and café.
All of this is positive and indicates that the Gold Coast Blue Tongues are an organisation committed to finding a long term, viable option for hockey fans as well as the greater Gold Coast community.
By Andrew Hewitt
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