“The boys are back in town” boomed through the speakers as AHL T-shirts were tossed into the crowd and celebrities played ball hockey at Mile One stadium Friday morning. Danny Williams, President and CEO of the new team and Mark Chipman of True North Sports and Entertainment went all out holding an event to confirm the American Hockey League will be returning to St. John’s in the fall. Also on hand were Glenn Stanford, Chief Operating Officer; Craig Heisinger of true North; Dave Andrews, AHL President; and St. John’s mayor Dennis O’Keefe.
Former Premier Danny Williams says that the plan to bring the Manitoba Moose to St. John’s will depend on higher ticket prices and a greater stake from corporate sponsors than was originally planned. Williams says that the original model was contingent on a $500,000 subsidy from the Newfoundland and Labrador government, which Premier Kathy Dunderdale subsequently turned her nose to. Williams headed back to bargaining table and late Wednesday afternoon joined St. John’s City Councillor Danny Breen, who sits on the St. John’s Sports and Entertainment board, to announce a provisional deal. “It’s going to have to come from the revenue side of the equation,” Williams said of the extra money needed. Williams hopes that the prices for season passes and individual tickets can be established in the next week.
Support for a Newfoundland AHL team is coming from interesting places. Port aux Basques Mayor Brian Button said on VOCM Open Line that the franchise would be good for tourism and an employment generator, not just for the capital city, but for the entire province. Meanwhile, former Premier Danny Williams continues to scramble to strike the deal. Williams and former St. John’s Maple Leafs director of operations Glenn Stanford have been negotiating with True North for weeks, hoping to relocate the Manitoba Moose to St. John’s where that team would become the farm club to the new NHL team. Williams believes in the economic spinoff for St. John’s and, by extension, the province. With near half of the province’s population within reasonable driving distance to Mile One for a game, where is the Province’s helping hand this time?
With Manitoba set to get its NHL franchise back, how close is Newfoundland to getting its AHL franchise?
Premier Kathy Dunderdale spoke to the media for the first time about the province’s stance on helping to bring an AHL team to the province, and explained that the province needed a much more comprehensive analysis and economic plan to warrant truly considering the application. “What we received was a letter of request that was accompanied by several letters of support, (and) an exit survey that had been done at Mile One after some event, where people were asked what they would like to see in terms of professional hockey here in this province. Now, we can’t do any kind of analysis on that scant amount of information.” Dunderdale said that she is open to reviewing a strengthened proposal by St. John’s Sports and Entertainment, but did warn that government policy to date has been to concentrate on supporting amateur, and not professional, sport. For his part, former premier Danny…
If Winnipeg gets its NHL Jets back, and St. John’s is indeed the front runner for the relocating AHL franchise, the group led by former Premier Danny Williams will need the province’s help. With the city already firm in its decision to not support a hockey team with public money, the board of Mile One is looking to the province for help subsidizing the venture. The minister for tourism, Terry French, says that he will review the proposal like any other, and, if it could benefit the people of this province, it will receive some serious consideration. For his part, Williams says “If the city and the province can create the atmosphere and the environment for it to come, then I’m prepared to bring a team here, but you know, I’m not lobbying the government for any funds whatsoever.”
2011-2012 could mark the return of hockey to Mile One Centre.
UPEI has seen fit to bestow an honourary degree on former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams. He will be one of four honourary recipients at the May 7 convocation, and has been invited to deliver a speech to graduates from nursing, education, veterinary programs, and also several business programs – including the university’s first graduating class of MBAs. Williams already holds a degree in political science and economics from Memorial University of Newfoundland as well as a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University. He is a former Rhodes scholar.
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Danny Williams, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani will share the stage at Harbour Centre in Saint John, NB on Oct. 6. It was only a matter of time… The show is being put off by Spark Canada, and presented by Lexus. The event website says the intention of the speak-show is to get leaders from around the word together to share their stories of hardship, leadership and persistence with students eager to learn and executives interested in learning how to better lead and grow companies, etc… It’s described as a “high-impact event that is designed to push through a cultural shift towards encouraging people from all walks of life to try, risk, and dare to be different.” Tickets range from $199.50 to $301.50. What? Did you expect it be free? That’s not how you get ahead in this world…
A little soft-serve for a hard world
On May 7, Danny Williams will receive an honorary degree from the University of Prince Edward Island for ‘his leadership, and public and community service’. Williams is set to speak during the morning convocation where approximately 300 graduates will receive various degrees. He is one of four to receive honorary degrees that day. University president Wade MacLauchlan says, “The university is truly pleased to honour these four people who have contributed so much to the communities in which they live, work, and serve, and to our country.”