In a 5-2 vote the Lubbock City Council said they will not renew the rental agreement with Texas Tech Hockey over use of the City Bank Coliseum. The vote dealt a serious blow to the Big 12 champions leaving them without a permanent venue and possibly forcing them to disband their youth hockey organizations.
Councilman John Leonard led the charge against the hockey team and said the Coliseum is losing money and possible concert bookings due to hockey.
"We were losing money on the contracts and we can't subsidize events like that," said Leonard. "What we need to do is be more aggressive and get more concerts and events into the Coliseum."
"If it's about money," said head coach Paul Fioroni, "I'll cut the check myself."
The Coliseum is only losing roughly $1300 by having Tech play. Fioroni and several other hockey sponsors have offered to pay the $1300 and provide more money so the Coliseum will see profits. But what about the events the Coliseum is missing out on because of hockey? According to city event booking officials, only six timeslots have been put on hold for the rest of the year. The events aren't even a definite at this time.
Councilman Leonard made the statement that hockey forces the Coliseum into a blackout period for booking; however, Coliseum officials said during council that concerts and events take priority over hockey. The issue that struck a chord for the two pro votes, Councilman Floyd Price and Councilwoman Linda DeLeon, was that Tech Hockey has a program that caters to children in need.
Councilman Price said the council gave up a chance to be proactive.
"When you turn around and slap youth in the face and say your not worth 'x' number of dollars, what are they going to do?" asked Price. "They're going to get out and mess up."
Council offices have been flooded with calls and emails since the decision was handed down. Fioroni said he is willing try to work something out with the council. In the mean time, he hopes people will come out and support the Red Raiders against OU at what might be they're last game at the Coliseum on Friday.