The Golden Rockets are entering their second season under new leadership, and the organization is hoping for a stronger relationship with the Town of Golden moving forward.
“I am aware that in the past there has been some animosity between the Rockets Board and Council and the Rec Department,” said Ted Stephens, who has been acting as assistant general manager alongside his son, head coach Jason Stephens, since the beginning of last season.
Stephens would like to change that relationship, and believes the club has already taken steps to do so.
“We had a culture problem, and we got rid of the players who were part of that problem,” he said.
Stephens appeared in front of council with vice president of the Rockets, Ray Lawson. The two made the case that the hockey team is a valuable asset to the community, both economically and culturally.
“Those young kids who are in the arena every game, they absolutely idolize those players,” said Lawson.
They requested that there be some compromises to help them weather a difficult storm as their financials were in the red after last season.
The Rockets budget has been tightened, with the board making cuts wherever they can. And after a busy off season of scouting, Stephens believes we can expect better results on the score board this year.
“It was a rough season for us,” he said. “I assure you we won’t have the season we had last year.”
Some of the requests they had of council included a reduced practice rate for ice time, which Stephens argued should be fair given that they do not use the ice during “prime time,” and to be charged for three hours instead of four of ice time on game days.
The Rockets did not suggest a specific reduced rate, instead saying that the municipality is in a better position to assign a dollar value. But Stephens did say that through his own research, be believes the Rockets pay one of the higher rates in the league, the KIJHL.
They also believe that a more equitable deal could be struck regarding the share of advertising dollars, earned from advertising signage in the arena, including the zamboni.
They recommended the Town’s share be reduced to 10 per cent (with an exception for new boards that have to be installed by Town staff).
As well, they requested that players have access to the ice when it is not being used by another organization for personal practice.
“These guys just want to be on the ice, and if they want to work on their skills on their own during their free time, we’d like them to be able to do that,” said Stephens.
Council will discuss the requests at a later meeting.