Bay Arena putting halt to hos­pi­tal­ity rooms

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Changes are com­ing to the Bay Arena’s pol­icy on hos­pi­tal­ity rooms.

The Bay Roberts sta­dium is cut­ting out the popular mi­nor hockey tra­di­tion start­ing next sea­son. That means mi­nor hockey teams host­ing tour­na­ments at the arena will not be able to of­fer vis­it­ing teams the luxury of sweets or sand­wiches.

The warm room will be there, but the se­lec­tion of de­lec­ta­ble treats will be ab­sent from the re­gion.

That’s not too say it will be cut out for ev­ery­thing. Bay Arena ex­ec­u­tive board chair­man Ed Neil said a hos­pi­tal­ity room will be avail­able for pro­vin­cial tour­na­ments and other sim­i­lar func­tions like At­lantics.

“We haven’t cut out hos­pi­tal­ity. For all ma­jor tour­na­ments we pro­vide hos­pi­tal­ity,” said Neil. “We don’t do it for ev­ery tour­na­ment be­cause it af­fects the sales in our can­teen hor­rif­i­cally. We are a pri­vate group and we have to try and make a dollar where we can.”

Ac­cord­ing to Neil, the sta­dium loses be­tween 30 and 40 per cent of its busi­ness on week­ends when there are hos­pi­tal­ity rooms. That money is used for sup­plies, pay­ing for re­pairs and other busi­ness at the Bay Arena.

The Wes­ley Gosse Me­mo­rial Bay Room will still be there for fam­i­lies and play­ers who want a place to es­cape the cold of the rink while en­joy­ing a cup of tea or cof­fee.

This isn’t the first time the Bay Arena has at­tempted to scale back the us­age of the hos­pi­tal­ity room. In the past, they’ve tried to cut down on the us­age, but teams con­tin­ued us­ing it.

“Af­ter this year, the board wrote a let­ter to the groups,” said sta­dium manager Norm Hill. “We’ve been down there be­fore and peo­ple took ad­van­tage. This is the eas­i­est way.”

The move is not un­prece­dented. Hill men­tioned that rinks like the PARC Unity Arena in Pla­cen­tia and the Trinity-Pla­cen­tia Sta­dium in Whit­bourne do not cur­rently have hos­pi­tal­ity rooms, while the Jack Byrne Arena in Tor­bey has very lit­tle in the way of a hos­pi­tal­ity room.

“Some towns go all out, but a lot of them do not have it,” said Hill.

For the Bay Arena, it is about be­ing able to af­ford the up­keep of a 30-year-old fa­cil­ity that is quickly start­ing to show its age.

The con­crete floor needs to be re­placed, which could cost thou- sands, and there are other parts of the rink that need re­plac­ing. Other un­ex­pected costs arise from time to time.

“Peo­ple get a great charge if they break the glass,” said Hill. “One of those glass is go­ing to cost the sta­dium $1,000. That’s the things peo­ple don’t re­al­ize.

“We try to run (the sta­dium) like a busi­ness to at least break even. If we get a profit, that’s a bonus.”

We don’t do it for ev­ery tour­na­ment be­cause it af­fects the sales in our can­teen hor­rif­i­cally.

Bay Arena ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ed Neil

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