Barrhead councilors vote to repaint one of the Agrena locker rooms in Steelers colors
BARRHEAD – The Barrhead U18 Steelers will have a locker room at Agrena painted in their colors.
It’s the best councilors thought they could do following a request from Steelers players who asked the council for exclusive use of one of Agrena’s six locker rooms.
Councilors approved public works to paint or decorate Locker Room 5 after the team’s 6-0 victory (Councillor Ty Assaf was absent) in consultation with the Barrhead Minor Hockey Association (BMHA) at their Nov. 14 meeting.
In a separate motion, councilors officially rejected Steelers players’ request for a dedicated locker room.
Councilors first discussed the application at their October 24 meeting. They asked administrative staff for more information about the potential costs of painting the locker room and details regarding the Bombers’ agreement with the municipality, including whether the franchise paid for it.
The Bombers are a Tier 2 junior “A” hockey team currently playing in the five-team Canadian-American Junior Hockey League (CAJHL).
The Steelers locker room has been a controversial topic among Barrhead hockey fans since the Bombers arrived in the community four years ago. Prior to the team’s arrival, the Steelers used locker room 6 exclusively.
General manager Edward LeBlanc said the Bombers currently pay no fees to use the locker room.
He added that this practice dates back to June 2019, when the Western Provincial Hockey Association (WHPA) approached the city, saying it was interested in bringing a franchise to the community.
As part of the negotiations, LeBlanc said, the city agreed to allow the team to use Locker Room 6 for free.
However, the council did not finalize the deal, requesting more information after learning the town of Hinton canceled its contract with the WHPA franchise for failing to pay its bills.
LeBlanc added that they postponed the lease deal when the municipality began negotiations with Ron White, who wanted to move his Western States Hockey League (WSHL) team from California. This team would eventually become the current iteration of the Bombers.
Public Works estimated the cost of painting the locker room with the Steelers colors and logo, which reflects the NHL’s Boston Bruins, at $200.
“The reality is we only have six locker rooms, and the Bombers have one,” LeBlanc said, adding that locker room space is already at a premium on weekends.
For example, he said that in recent years the youngest age group, the Initiates, only used half the ice surface, allowing four teams to use the ice simultaneously and potentially required four changing rooms.
As such, he said, the administration reiterated its recommendation from the Oct. 24 meeting to deny the request.
LeBlanc also suggested that if councilors chose to have a locker room painted in Steelers colors, the Fun Hockey program could also seek similar treatment.
Advice. Don Smith was not concerned if Fun Hockey requested that a locker room be painted in their colors, red and white, in honor of the Red Wings.
“It’s not a big ask. If that’s all they want,” he said.
Smith also suggested they discuss the possibility of the Bombers paying for the right to use the locker room, emphasizing that it was a business.
In addition to charging for their tickets, the CAJHL is a pay-to-play league that charges players a fee to be on the team.
Earlier in the meeting, LeBlanc noted that in December the board would review the facility rates and rate schedule, saying if they wanted to charge the Bombers for the room, that would be an opportune time to make the change.
He also suggested they might want to reassess whether they continue to reserve a locker room for the Bombers, given the demand.
“Maybe no one should have an assigned locker room,” Smith said. “Maybe they should have to empty all their equipment after their games and practices, like every other minor hockey team.”
Advice. Dave Sawatzky responded that while he couldn’t support the Steelers’ request to have a dedicated locker room, painting it in their colors would go a long way toward creating more harmony.
“Because it is a great privilege to be a young player at the end of a minor career, being able to walk into a dressing room and see the colors of the team you worked for is something special,” he said. he declared. .
Advice. Anthony Oswald spoke about the issue of the more experienced and top team having a dedicated dressing room never being an issue.
He added that for years the Elks, a junior “B” team that played in the Central Alberta Junior Hockey League from 1969 to the early 1990s, were always assigned a locker room.
“It’s never been a problem. Ever,” Oswald said. “We even had a senior team that had its own room with the Elks, and minor hockey had to work with four locker rooms with similar or greater staffing.”
That said, Oswald noted that he realizes times have changed, adding that he is open to discussing whether they should charge the Bombers for the right to have a dedicated dressing room.