After a couple months of conversation between a new Fredericton hockey team and St. Thomas University Tommies over a locker room at the Grant-Harvey Centre, a resolution has been reached.
The dressing room once held the former STU men’s hockey team. Now STU’s athletic director Mike Eagles said both rooms are needed for its soccer and rugby teams.
Roger Shannon, president of the Fredericton Red Wings, said his team was looking for a space. The Red Wings are playing in their inaugural Maritime Junior A Hockey League season.
“We had to have something when we welcomed our new players to the city, something we could call home,” said Shannon.
“When we first started the team, we approached St. Thomas about the use of the dressing room because we assumed that they didn’t use it.”
The STU soccer and rugby teams use the room from late August to early November.
The Red Wings start training in the middle of August.
Eagles said the locker room is beneficial to soccer and rugby programs. They play and practice at the Scotiabank Park South Turf, which is in the vicinity of Grant-Harvey.
“At times, for games, [St. Thomas] ended up not having a dressing room at all, as the rink [beside the field] could only spare one room, so it went to the visiting team” Eagles said.
“We did offer to allow the Red Wings access after the soccer and rugby teams were done in November but logistically that was not going to work for them.”
The offer was too expensive for the new team, said Shannon.
“Our coaching staff said, ‘We’re not going to use a dressing room and then move across the ice in November and then have to be out on March 1, when there’s something else going on, like a volleyball event,'” he said.
Needing their own space, the Red Wings decided to approach the city and invest $12,000 from their team budget into a public dressing room, adding their own team colours and stalls.
“We built our own stalls, repainted it and it’s beautiful. We’re quite happy with what we have but it’s not permanent, because it’s a public arena and the city requires that room,” Shannon said.
“The city was very accommodating and helped us, but the city can’t just give us a dressing room, they require their dressing rooms for the public, so it is what it is.”
Still, since the room is public, the team has run into some issues.
“Four or five times a week we have to vacate the room because the city has all kinds of other stuff on the go … unfortunately we have had some damages. Teams that have been in there have damaged it. We’ve had to repair it.”
Despite the situation, the Red Wings hold no ill-will towards STU and say they have adapted.
Shannon said there has not been any negative impact on the team other than the inconvenience of moving out of the dressing room.
Though the Red Wings would like to have the dressing room, Shannon said where the Tommies colours are green and gold it wouldn’t feel right for the Red Wings, a red and white team.
“We’ve created our own home, and we are doing everything we can to make it the best we can make it and where quite comfortable with where we are right now.”