Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tongues move from Bundall

With the AIHL having an early break due to the Queen's Birthday weekend, like myself, a lot of people were wondering what they would do with their time. As people headed away for a long weekend trip, the AIHL board were holding meetings to try and figure out the next plan of action in regards to the state of the Tongues home rink in Bundall.

Eventually an outcome was decided with news that the Gold Coast Blue Tongues would be playing the remainder of their home games for 2012 at the Acacia Ridge Iceworld in Brisbane, the Tongues home rink was deemed non playable after a match against the Melbourne Ice last weekend was called off.

The move is one that could prove undesirable for the Tongues, the rink at Iceworld is one which will be able to handle AIHL matches, but for me that's not the major issue. The major issue for me is the time slot which has been allocated by Iceworld for the Tongues, 10:30pm game starts is something which could impact the Tongues massively throughout the rest of the season. With talks to happen over the next week, i hope discussions can produce a more friendlier time slot for the Tongues to play at.

 AIHL Deputy Commissioner Ben Kiely spoke on the issue "While the 10:30pm start time isn't ideal for anyone involved, we hope that positives can come from a challenging situation.”

Not only will a late time slot affect club rosters in the AIHL, crowds turning up to the games would have to be top of the list of issues regarding the move.

Where are they going to come from? Will the Gold Coast people travel? Will families turn out to such a late start time? Will the people of Brisbane support the Gold Coast club?

All of these things need to be answered & while the decisions look to be out of both the clubs & AIHL's hands, it's something which could be very worrying for the league.

It also makes you wonder what season ticket holders think of the whole situation, are they eligible for a refund? When you consider the shift in schedule & the extra hour of travel some Gold Coast members might have to endure. 

I don't expect to see a big protest from supporters, but it definitely is an interesting discussion point. No doubt one which the AIHL & the Gold Coast club have thought about immensely, hopefully the discussions during the week can produce a fan friendly outcome for all involved.

Gold Coast was in need of an upgrade from their Bundall facility regardless, so i guess not all is lost on the issue of relocation. Hopefully in due time some decisions can be made by the AIHL, Gold Coast & the local council on whether or not a face lift for the Iceland Ice Skating Rink is something to pursue, or a totally new ice hockey arena being the right way forward.

New facilities are not something which are easily worked out, they can become long and tedious, something Melbourne Ice fans know all about. Governments & councils need to be involved, while the local community would also be an important part of the Tongues bid for an upgrade or new rink.

I just hope something can be done either way to get a facility which can host AIHL matches without any hiccups in the future, it is something which not only the Gold Coast Blue Tongues & there fans deserve, but something the AIHL as a whole deserve also.

By Andrew Macdougall

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