The Kingston Frontenacs might still be playing if they could shut a team down the way they have stymied the Kingston Voyageurs' RBC Cup bid.
It's a laugh-and-a-half to see the great wool-pull Kingston Mayor Harvey Rosen is engaged in as he tries to justify why the Vees must use the ancient Memorial Centre rather than the newish, costly-ish K-Rock Centre if they earn the right to host the 2012 RBC Cup. "The majority of teams in the Junior A leagues across the country are from smaller towns and they play in smaller arenas." ... "If you put three thousand fans in the K-Rock Centre, which is the most the RBC Cup could hope to draw, it's half full and you feel there's something not quite attractive about what's going on."
The Fronts' forwards should be as good at deflections. The downtown arena is losing money, in an election year, and rather than stand up to Fronts owner Doug Springer, Rosen tries to reverse course. This is a hilarious coming from someone who blamed fans when the Springer Frontenacs were drawing far less than 3,000 fans. He didn't call it "something not quite attractive going on" then. And if spectator support is such a big concern, why was the Clarkson Cup staged at the K-Rock Centre? There's no way a women's game not involving national teams drew anything close to 3,000 people.
It's understandable, admirable even that the Springer Frontenacs have put their foot down, since there is an off-off-off-off-off-off-chance they are still going in next season's OHL playoffs come May 2012. Granted, they are coming off their "best post-season showing" (the local broadsheet's phrasing) in 12 years, since it took them until Game 7 of Round 1 to bow out to Brampton.
Kingston fans and taxpayers deserve a lot better than puffery and half truths. They were told the city needed to splurge on a downtown arena to land big events and are now being told it is ill-suited for staging a big event, and that the RBC Cup is not a big event. Debate the glamour of the RBC Cup all you want, but the money out-of-town teams and their supporters spend is just as good as their major junior counterparts.
The onus isn't totally on Springer, but it's pretty clear who is calling the shots. It is not out of the realm of possibility he's seeing it as win-win if venue issues sink the Vees' bid. The Vees already had to defer it from 2011 to '12, so not to coincide with the Fronts' Hail Mary of a bid for the 2011 Memorial Cup. Some random guy hinted at this two weeks ago:
"Kingston Frontenacs owner Doug Springer will never let another team host a national championship at the K-Rock Centre, his petty fiefdom that he doesn't actually own or operate. You have to keep dates available for that huge playoff run (all the way to the second round!) that he's been promising Kingston since 1998, don't you know.The Fronts actually have every right to do so; their 2011-12 season might be a going concern when the RBC Cup comes around in May. And Katrina Bowden might be waiting in my apartment when I come home from work tonight. Perhaps it is not politic, but Rosen should just be honest about the circumstances. It doesn't take King Solomon to see there is a compromise, where the Vees could be prepared to use the K-Rock if it's available. Common sense should prevail, even as it's getting harder to recall that exists, where Kingston and junior hockey is concerned.
"In no way is this a suggestion Springer and his Frontenacs ... (are) actively trying to sandbag another Kingston team's bid to land a national tournament ... in no way whatsoever."
Imagine having a state-of-the-art arena sit empty while a national championship takes place across town. No amount of nostalgia for old "hockey barns" will override that embarrassment.
It has been 892 days since Doug Springer promised to do "whatever it takes" to bring a winner to Kingston.