Facing significant investment to upgrade their arena to Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) standards, 12 Quebec cities hosting junior teams have officially come together to find solutions and facilitate the search for funding.
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This committee has already met twice during the summer and a third meeting is scheduled to be held before the end of the year.
“The team owners hold meetings, once or twice a year, where they can talk about their situation. “We didn’t have anything in the cities,” explains the mayor of Rimouski, Guy Caron, who instigated the creation of this committee.
In its five-year capital expenditure program 2024-2028, the City of Rimouski plans investments of more than $17 million to upgrade Colisée Financière Sun Life, home to the Océanic de Rimouski.
In Baie Comeau, more than $1.5 million is planned to be invested over the next three years for the Henri Leonard de Druckar Centre.
In Drummondville, a project to modernize the Marcel Dion Center, where the Voltigeurs play, is estimated to cost more than $50 million and will include modernization to meet QMJHL requirements.
The installation of so-called “flexible” bay windows, which are more flexible – to prevent accidents such as the one that occurred during the warm-up match between Remparts and Oceanic last August – is planned in particular in Rimouski and Baie-Comeau.
So-called “flexible” bay windows, which are more flexible and therefore safer for players, are scheduled to be installed in several arenas in Quebec.
“It allows us to work together and see how we can improve things or do them differently,” explains Baie Comeau Mayor, Michel Debien. “We are facing similar problems […] We can find solutions for them. »
However, Guy Caron highlights the “ambiguity” regarding what is allowed in terms of funding from cities to junior teams.
For example, under the Municipal Grants Prohibition Act, a team formed as a nonprofit organization can receive more municipal grants than another team formed as a private company.
Jay Caron also highlights the situation of the six QMJHL teams located in the Atlantic provinces that “live under different municipal laws.”
“We want to ensure that the league can operate on an equal footing,” he adds.
The office of the Quebec Minister responsible for sports, Isabelle Charest, did not wish to comment on the establishment of this committee. However, we stress that we take into consideration the priority of installing new, safer bay windows for players.
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