Semi-pro hockey coming to St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 22, 2016

 St. Clair Shores Recreation Sports Manager Gina Rheaume and the general manager and associate coach for Global Hockey Management, Brandon Contratto, answer questions from City Council April 18.

St. Clair Shores Recreation Sports Manager Gina Rheaume and the general manager and associate coach for Global Hockey Management, Brandon Contratto, answer questions from City Council April 18.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

ST. CLAIR SHORES — With three unanimous votes and two agreements between four different parties, a yet-to-be-named team from the Federal Hockey League will be playing at Civic Arena this fall.

City Attorney Robert Ihrie told City Council April 18 that it took nearly a dozen drafts of the agreement before Global Hockey Management — which intends to purchase and bring a Federal Hockey League team to the city — and St. Clair Shores could reach a five-year agreement to bring semi-professional hockey to the city.

The city is committing $50,000 to help build four new locker rooms at Civic Arena, one of which will be outfitted by and exclusively used by the new team. The management company is also committing to donating several pieces of equipment to the Civic Arena fitness room in exchange for use of the room during times it is not currently being used by St. Clair Shores hockey players or figure skaters.

The new locker rooms are being constructed with money from the St. Clair Shores Hockey Association, another partner in the agreements. The $247,000 cost will be paid for through credits for ice time issued by the city and also through a portion of beer and wine sales that will be sold through an agreement with the St. Clair Shores Concession Company during Federal Hockey League events. 

“No liquor will be sold at any time that there are any persons participating on the ice under the age of 18,” Ihrie said. 

He said the agreements seem to be beneficial for all four parties.

St. Clair Shores Recreation Sports Manager Gina Rheaume said that no one will be displaced from ice time with the agreements. 

“We need entertainment in the city of St. Clair Shores,” she said. “It’s going to be about $10 a ticket. Have a family day and come to Civic Arena and be able to enjoy entertainment.”

She said they plan to announce the name and the logo of the team May 18, and hockey games will begin in the fall. The agreement calls for the team to guarantee at least 35 home games for the team on Friday nights around 7:30 p.m. and/or Sundays around 4:30 p.m.

St. Clair Shores Hockey Association President Paul Doppke said that the agreement was approved by the association board and that “we are aware of what we are getting ourselves into.”

“On behalf of the current hockey players,” he said, “I think this is a great addition to our arena and to our city. It amazes me when I’m around the hockey rink how many grandpas and fathers and now children” are skating and continuing the “great tradition.”

“It’s exciting, so here we go,” Mayor Kip Walby said after the votes. “We’ve got a lot more work to do.”