Saturday, June 4, 2011

"no penalty" here...

Forbie Kennedy once told me that when he first entered the NHL he took a little run at Gordie Howe and later in the same game he was going along the boards when all of a sudden there was an elbow (Howe's) dragging his face across the boards... after he went down, he looked up and there was Howe big as life offering him a hand-up off the ice... Forbie was a bit dazed but he remembers Howe saying "welcome to the NHL kid"...   Forbie told me he learned a lot about tangling with some of the old pros after that incident...
Well I'm thinking if CAO Terry Murphy isn't dazed by how Serge Jr "worked him over" here then he soon will be when Serge Sr makes it a "one" market Province and ends any hope of Summerside getting a Major Jr "A" team... It's tough in there trying to work the corners when you're up against an old pro like Serge Sr and you can appeal to all the referees you want but there's "no penalty" here!
City cries foul in failed QMJHL bid

Published on June 3, 2011
Mike Carson
Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE - City management is complaining the owner of the P.E.I. Rocket hockey club is determining what businesses the City of Summerside can attract - and it's doing it with provincial money.

Summerside Chief Administrative Officer Terry Murphy said the city's recent failure to land the now defunct Lewiston Maineiacs is directly attributable to the P.E.I. Rocket and its president and governor, Serge Savard Jr.

"The issue is with Savard manipulating the situation to prevent a second team from coming to Summerside," Murphy said. "That is wrong. I'm saying that Savard should not be allowed to use taxpayers' dollars to determine what business comes to Summerside especially when some of those are Summerside taxpayers' dollars. That's the principle of where we're at."

The province contributes $100,000 to the Rocket. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said $50,000 comes from Tourism and $50,000 comes from Innovation and Advanced Learning.

The CAO said in talks with league Commissioner Gilles Courteau he learned Savard had spoken to Premier Robert Ghiz and that the premier informed him this money would have to be shared if two QMJHL teams were allowed on P.E.I.

"We learned later that the premier did not speak to Mr. Savard and thus the information he provided the league owners was incorrect," Murphy said.

Savard's reply to Murphy's statement yesterday was "He's in left field."

Savard said he was told there was a deal in the making to bring a Q team to Summerside and it wasn't cheap.

"I would like to know what the taxpayers in Summerside think when they guarantee $1.4 million in revenue to a Q team," Savard said.

He said he was told the gate guarantee was more than $1 million with sponsorship ranging from $300,000 to $350,000.

"A city with 14,000 people guaranteeing $1.4 million in revenue? I don't think it went through the council. My understanding - and I'm pretty well connected on P.E.I. a lot of my close friends know some of the people on the board (council) in Summerside and I was told that this was just going 'under the blanket' - it was a deal done under the blanket to guarantee those revenues and even at the (league) table the people couldn't understand the city would do that. I don't know another city that can do something like this, promise something to a Q team or a company or a franchise at the league without having it approved by their city board (council)."

Savard said the city management put the league in a situation to vote when there was no consensus from city council to do so.

"I am not responsible for not having a team in Summerside. In the Q, I am a member, I am a governor. I represent one-seventeenth of the league now that Lewiston is out. When we had a governors meeting, which Mr. Murphy did not attend, the number 1 purpose of every owner is to protect the existing markets. I made it clear from Day 1 that I knew if it would go to a vote it would be unanimous (against it). I know Summerside worked hard to get a franchise, but as long as the P.E.I. Rocket is on the Island there will never ever be two teams on P.E.I."

Technically the two cities are far enough apart by league rules to have two teams, but the market is the question.

"They had the right to ask for it, but the governors all looked at the logic. Logic came into play," Savard said. "I'm probably going to ask the league to rectify this and make it official that this is just a one-market province so that this situation never occurs again."

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