HUNTSVILLE - Neil Lumsden admits he is unhappy with Huntsville town council.
The executive director of the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships says he was not pleased with council’s decision last week to reject a funding request of $18,000 for the annual event.
“I am disappointed that council can’t see the value of our event, like they do some others,” he said in an interview last Thursday. “But that’s the way it goes.”
Pond hockey officials made their request at council’s meeting on Oct. 15. The request came after the municipality had agreed to support TriMuskoka’s bid for the Ironman Canada event to the tune of $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations. The group lost the bid for the Ironman event to Whistler, British Columbia.
Council stated that since the municipality’s small community grants has been spent for the year, the pond hockey group could be considered for a grant when the next budget is set.
The national championships have been held at Deerhurst Resort since 2006, but were cancelled last year due to poor weather conditions that didn’t allow Sunset Bay to freeze.
The event is held over two weekends and attracts more than 200 teams, some of which bring four or more players per squad for the three-on-three format.
When asked if council’s decision could affect the future of the pond hockey championships staying in Huntsville, Lumsden was non-committal.
“At this point I would say no (to changing plans). I am just disappointed after these years and the economic impact we have made and a lot of the good things we do for the community, like the public skating rink… but I look at this like I do all things, we are there for a reason and either you see the value for what we do or you don’t. But most people do see the value and that’s why we keep coming back.”
He did say that plans are to hold the 2013 event in Huntsville.
“That’s our plan. We came there for a reason. We like that the people we deal with are involved and there are some fabulous people there. I hate to see that stop.”
It was also mentioned at the council meeting that the event could be moved from Deerhurst Resort to Hidden Valley Resort in time for the 2013 championships.
Lumsden said that was not the case, adding that while he has talked with officials from Hidden Valley Resort, organizers were still working on the details for next year’s event.
“We are still in talks about the whole process. So at this point, until I finalize things I have nothing to say really. I have nothing final. There are no firm plans made on either side … we have to do some due diligence.”