Thursday, 20 July 2017 05:41

City will staff and operate Sask. Hockey Hall of Fame

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The City of Swift Current has entered into a 10-year agreement with the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame Inc. (SHHOF) to staff and operate the Hall of Fame, which is located in the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.


Councillors approved a motion at a regular council meeting on July 4 to authorize the mayor and City clerk to sign the agreement.
General Manager Community Services Dean Robson told the meeting the City and SHHOF representatives have been meeting for more than a year to discuss an agreement to allow the City to operate the Hall of Fame.
“The City will staff, promote, market and program the SHHOF using its expert resources, including museum exhibit staff and Iplex facility maintenance staff to maintain the space,” he said. “The city is fortunate to have the prestigious SHHOF located in the Innovation Credit Union iPlex and in Swift Current. The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame is a tourist attraction to Swift Current and the southwest.”
The Hall of Fame opened in 2012 in an exhibition space that was designed for this purpose during the renovation of the iPlex facility. Until now the SHHOF board of directors was responsible for hiring staff to manage and promote the Hall of Fame.
Under the terms of the agreement the SHHOF will pay an annual operating grant of $35,000 and an annual capital maintenance fee of $5,000 to the City. This annual fee will increase by two per cent per year, starting Jan. 1, 2018.
The SHHOF will also repay the outstanding construction balance of $350,000 in five equal installments of $70,000 between 2017 and 2021.
During this 10-year agreement the City is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Hall of Fame. The exhibition space will be open for at least 20 hours per week from Aug. 1 to April 30, and during this period it will be open for special events at the iPlex, such as Bronco games, curling bonspiels, and minor sports activities.
The City will determine the operating hours for the Hall of Fame during the off season (May 1 to July 31).
According to Swift Current Museum Curator Lloyd Begley it makes sense for the City to be responsible for the operation of the Hall of Fame.
“It’s in a City building,” he told the Prairie Post. “We’re already taking care of the maintenance of the facility. So it was just sort of a natural fit that the museum would be involved in terms of operating the Hall of Fame.”
He believes the SHHOF directors appreciates the benefit of an arrangement that allows museum staff to take care of the collection and programming components at the Hall of Fame.
“Halls of Fame are museums,” he said. “So from that perspective I think they thought it would be valuable for us to be involved in running and operating the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
Most of the items on display in the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame is the property of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.
“So it’s like a travelling exhibition from the Sports Hall of Fame in Regina,” he said. “Everything in there has come from either former players themselves. There is a small collection of items that actually belong to Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams and there is a small collection of items that belong to Wendel Clark. Then there are items also on display that belong to inductees to the Hall of Fame, like rings or trophies or memorabilia from their days playing or coaching or on the business side of hockey. Other than that, anything else you see is part of the collection of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.”
The current exhibition space is sufficient for the various items on display annually in the Hall of Fame.
“The exhibits rotate,” he said. “Items that are part of the inductees of 2016 will be removed and those being inducted by the Hockey Hall of Fame this year will be installed and that will be happening at the end of July. So it’s changing yearly.”
The City’s intention is to enhance the programming component at the Hall of Fame to attract more visitors and to increase the public’s use of the facility.
“We’re going to try and enhance the use of the Hall of Fame,” he said. “One of the plans is to encourage the community to use the Hall of Fame for receptions and public events in advance of Bronco games or in advance of tournaments or in advance of anything that’s going on with respect to hockey. For example, we’re planning throughout the summer months to be open during Swift Current 57’s games. What’s stopping someone from walking across to the Hockey Hall of Fame before the ballgame starts?”
During the past hockey season there were several occasions during Bronco games when more than 80 people visited the Hall of Fame.
“Once they know it’s open and have access to it, people are coming,” he said. “There are people from all over the country that come through. For example, during the playoffs, people from Moose Jaw came through the Hockey Hall of Fame and visitors from Regina. During the regular season I talked to people from every Western Hockey League city who followed their team to Swift Current to watch the game, but also took in the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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