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Privateers start talking with city

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The first talks between the city and the Thousand Islands Privateers went well, City Manager Mary M. Corriveau said Tuesday.

It was the first lengthy discussion the two parties had since owner Nicole Kirnan announced two weeks ago that Watertown was her top choice for the Federal Hockey League’s team’s home arena.

“Obviously, there are some issues to work out at the nitty-gritty level,” Corriveau said.

No other meetings have been scheduled, but the city is working hard to accommodate the Privateers’ need to have a decision made in about 45 days for the move to the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, Corriveau said. The team is also looking at Ogdensburg, Clayton and remaining at the Bonnie Castle Recreation Center in Alexandria Bay.

The team’s full-season schedule and need for ice time were among the topics that came up during the meeting. The city wants to see how it can accommodate their scheduling needs, Corriveau said.

Kirnan could not be reached for comment about the meeting.

On Monday night, council members said they were excited about the prospect of bringing the team to the fairgrounds, stressing it would enhance the reputation of the municipal ice arena.

They also stressed holding off on making major renovations for office space and a home team locker room, wanting to see how the relationship with the team progresses. Some temporary offices could be set up, with plans for better accommodations after the first season has been completed.

While they did not want to put a lot of money into the ice arena for renovations for the team, council members also noted that the facility needs some work, no matter if the team comes to Watertown or not.

They also are thinking about a major expansion for the facility’s concession stand or adding another stand, with plans to expand the menu. Concession stand revenues could be a sticking point because council members made it clear the city needs to bring money in from those revenues. The team also wants those revenues.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Corriveau made it clear the city will not tolerate an incident like happened during a playoff game on Sunday against Akwesasne when a bench-clearing brawl ended the game with about six minutes in the third period. State police had to be called to restore order after an opponent’s player taunted the crowd.

“We talked about the incident, and clearly that is not acceptable in Watertown,” Mrs. Corriveau said. “It’s not that type of situation we want in our facility.”

The Federal Hockey League issued suspensions to the following Akwesasne players for their actions in Sunday’s games: Simon Desormeaux (8 games), Jean Rene Forget (5), Alex Roundpoint (5), Nicolas Corbeil (2), Ahmed Mahfouz (2), and Kiawentonteh Swamp (2).

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