For­mer Har­bour Grace mayor says Danny Cleary not fol­low­ing con­tract stip­u­la­tions

Town work­ing to get con­tract agree­ment car­ried out

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

Har­bour Grace is look­ing to NHL player and com­mu­nity na­tive Danny Cleary to iron out some is­sues re­gard­ing the town’s sta­dium and the fa­cil­ity’s nam­ing rights.

Dur­ing a reg­u­lar meet­ing of coun­cil on Tues­day night, Oct. 9, for­mer Har­bour Grace mayor Terry Barnes was given the op­por­tu­nity to make a pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil to speak on the con­tract agree­ment be­tween the town and Danny Cleary, made back when the fa­cil­ity was still a work in progress.

Barnes ex­plained that dur­ing this time, the stip­u­la­tions of the sta­dium saw Cleary given the op­por­tu­nity to put his name on the fa­cil­ity, in ex­change for an undis­closed amount of money every year for a 10-year pe­riod.

On top of this, the con­tract states that Cleary would host five hockey schools for young hockey play­ers in the re­gion.

Barnes said the coun­cil of that time es­ti­mated some 300 chil­dren would be in­ter­ested in tak­ing on this pro­gram, with costs for the pro­grams be­ing be­tween $50 and $60 per child.

How­ever, Barnes says the pro­posed hockey school pro­gram has yet to be car­ried out, and Cleary did not show up to drop the puck at a youth tour­na­ment hosted on an an­nual ba­sis, de­spite pre­vi­ously agree­ing to do so.

“Any and all ex­tra money, if any, was to be placed back in the CeeBee’s or­ga­ni­za­tion for the kids,” Barnes ex­plained dur­ing the meet­ing.

“Mem­bers of Mr. Cleary’s present hockey school in St. John’s were to par­tic­i­pate in said Har­bour Grace hockey school. Mr. Cleary also com­mit­ted to be­ing here to drop the puck at the Danny Cleary tour­na­ment, which is held each year in Fe­bru­ary. We shook hands on this, but he never did show up.”

Barnes also ex­plained that the hockey school pro­gram that was hosted at the sta­dium is not the same one that was orig­i­nally agreed upon, as is out­lined in the stip­u­la­tions for the sta­dium name con­tract.

“I per­son­ally en­dured many con­fronta­tions and ag­o­niz­ing con­ver­sa­tions as to why I was to sup­port his name on (the sta­dium) … Along with many other coun­cil­lors at the time, we took a lot of flak from a lot of peo­ple for the amount of money paid with the nam­ing rights,” Barnes added. “It wasn’t about the nam­ing rights. It was about what he was go­ing to do for the kids. Our kids. Our grand­kids, in this area.

I strongly feel that be­cause Mr. Cleary has clearly bro­ken his con­tract, he should be held ac­count­able.”

Don Coombs, the cur­rent Mayor of Habrour Grace, later said dur­ing the meet­ing that coun­cil had run into some­thing of a he-said-she-said sit­u­a­tion with the con­tract. He ex­plained that plac­ing sig­nage along the sta­dium was also a part of the town’s side of the con­tract agree­ment, how­ever, the sig­nage in ques­tion was late be­ing put up, ul­ti­mately mean­ing that the town had not fol­lowed through with their end of the con­tract either.

The signs in ques­tion have since been erected.

Coombs then noted that fol­low­ing con­ver­sa­tions with sta­dium man­ager Carl Do­hey, he is hope­ful that things will fol­low through as was laid out by the con­tract, and that lawyers are work­ing to see the stip­u­la­tions of the con­tract agree­ment car­ried out.

“The signs are up, things have been done, and Mr. Do­hey has worked with our lawyers who will present it back to coun­cil, and hope­fully get this rec­ti­fied,” said Coombs. “We’ll get it sorted one way or an­other. The signs are done, and the hockey school will have to be done, along with any other obli­ga­tions that will have to be ad­hered to.”

Cleary was un­avail­able for com­ment on the sub­ject, but Mark Reynolds, pres­i­dent of the Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises CeeBee Stars or­ga­ni­za­tion, spoke briefly with The Com­pass fol­low­ing Tues­day night’s coun­cil meet­ing. He ex­plained that Cleary and his team would still be car­ry­ing out their end of the deal in the fu­ture, adding that they, es­pe­cially Cleary him­self, are proud to bring th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties to Har­bour Grace.

FILE PHOTO

The Danny Cleary Har­bour Grace Com­mu­nity Cen­tre was con­structed in 2016 when Terry Barnes still sat as mayor of Har­bour Grace.

FILE PHOTO

Terry Barnes

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