Reprieve For UMass-Lowell To Be Decided Tuesday

A long off-season may have a happy ending for the Mass.-Lowell River Hawks men’s ice hockey team after the City of Lowell’s Civic Stadium & Arena Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the Lowell City Council that it agree to the University’s demands to renegotiate the terms of the University’s lease at the Tsongas Arena outlined in a May 7, 2007, report of the school’s Hockey Task Force. According to a report in the Lowell Sun, the City Council must now vote on the Committee’s recommendations.

The positive vote appears to be the saving grace for the UMass-Lowell ice hockey program, which faced termination by the Trustees after a task force assembled earlier in the spring demanded major changes be made to restructure the team’s lease with the city-owned Tsongas Arena.

Four of the six criteria that the UMass-Lowell Hockey Task Force set forth were directly met in the Civic Stadium & Arena Committee’s recommendations to the City Council. Those include:

• That UMass-Lowell will keep all of the concessions generated during the team’s 17 home games;
• That a $50,000 subsidy paid by the University each year be eliminated;
• That a 50/50 split be given between the city and the University on advertising revenues on the arena’s outdoor electronic message center;
• And that the arena would do everything in its power to eliminate “doubleheaders” between the UMass-Lowell team and the building’s American Hockey League tenant the Lowell Devils.

The Task Force also requested a long-term written notice that when and if the AHL team leaves Lowell, that the University and the City will negotiate and establish a new partnership. In response the Committee proposed the creation of a negotiation subcommittee that would focus on negotiating a permanent lease amendment to take affect after the 2007-08, when this current proposed deal would end.

According to the Website of the Lowell City Council, the vote on the Committee’s recommendation will take place during a meeting on Tuesday night, June 12 at 6:30 p.m.