1. New owners for the Kingston Frontenacs. ‘Well-intentioned’, clearly doesn’t translate to playoff wins. The Springer family have been OHL owners since the late ’90s and the on-ice record speaks for itself. New owners, a return to the Kingston Canadians name & uniforms, a fresh start with real hockey people in charge and long lost fans might even find their way back to the Leon’s Centre. Winning will do that. When you don’t win for decades and nobody cares that’s trouble.
2. Build a new rink at Queen’s. They tore down the Jock Harty with no real plan to replace it. Queen’s has elite hockey programs, both men’s and women’s, and they play out of a 70-year old arena off-campus. It’s embarrassing. They found a way to build the Isabel Bader Centre and to refurbish a football stadium that nobody goes to, surely there is a path to building a new 2,000 seat arena on the site of the former St. Mary’s of The Lake Hospital. Does Stu Lang like hockey? (Lang, a former Queen’s football star, donated millions towards the new Richardson Stadium).
3. Bring back the Kingston Voyageurs. Kingston needs Tier II hockey if for no other reason than to allow our local, elite players to stay home and pursue their hockey dreams here. It needs to be in the Central Canada Hockey League with Ottawa-area teams. We’re sending kids to places like Smiths Falls and Wellington to play Tier II. Really?
4. Kingston needs just one Minor Hockey Association. Like many other communities we have far too many silos within minor hockey. We need ONE minor hockey association with a single vision that offers it all; house league, girl’s hockey, Triple-A. While we’re at it let’s get rid of Single-A to improve house league and let’s get a funding model in place to ensure kids who are good enough to play Triple-A can actually afford it.
5. Stop the insanity at the Memorial Centre. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and you can’t dump $40 million more into the Memorial Centre. That’s just a really bad idea. It’s a glorified dog park with an arena at least 40 years past its ‘best before’ date. Tear it down and put up a plaque. If you want to do something useful twin two new rinks on the property, put bowl seating in one of the rinks and mothball Centre 70. Turn the dog park into mixed use residential housing and if anyone wants to go the Kingston Fall Fair, it will be on McAdoos Lane.
6. I will admit my own bias here, but let’s put the Original Hockey Hall of Fame somewhere people will see it. Kingston is the birthplace of hockey and we need to embrace the story, share it with tourists and relocate the museum to the Market Wing of City Hall that backs on to the outdoor ice surface at Market Square. Another downtown attraction for tourists. Kingston has a wonderful, rich hockey history. Let’s share it.
And if I can throw in one extra; let’s play an outdoor game on the parade square at Fort Henry and have Queen’s & RMC renew hockey’s oldest rivalry there. Now that would be cool.
Who knows what the next decade will bring for Kingston hockey, but let’s hope we can continue to collectively grow the game here and win a few championships along the way. We can dream right?
Mark Potter is an honoured member of the Kingston Sports Hall of Fame and has followed local sports since he was a kid in Portsmouth Village.