The Spooner Area Youth Hockey Association (SAYHA) has partnered with the Wisconsin Lumberjacks and entered into a lease with the current owners of the Spooner Civic Center to operate the Civic Center for at least the next three years.
I recently had the opportunity to communicate with Carrie Romsos, President of the Spooner Area Youth Hockey Association to learn more about this. Due to COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, we decided to have this conversation via email.
DrydenWire: First, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions and doing so via email. Sounds like exciting news coming from SAYHA. I suppose my first question is, with this 3-year lease, and given the history of the Spooner Civic Center, what assurances did you receive from the owners that SAYHA is in good hands with this operating agreement?
Spooner Area Youth Hockey Association: The lease structure that SAYHA entered into is a triple net lease which means that although the current owner still owns the building; SAYHA and its partner, the Wisconsin Lumberjacks are 100% responsible for operating the building and the different portions of the building. It is very similar to renting an apartment. When you rent an apartment you are responsible for the electricity, phone, internet etc. We are responsible for all of these overhead costs. We also then gain any revenues from subletting the different areas of the building such as the gym and restaurant. Additionally, 1,138 solar panels have been installed on the roof of the building which will help with utility costs of the building.
DW: What are the current plans for all of those different portions such as the gym, ballroom, the offices, and meeting rooms?
SAYHA: SAYHA and the Wisconsin Lumberjacks will be continuing the gym as it is with the 24/7 access. Current members can expect a call from us in the next couple weeks to complete the transfer. The walking track will be returning to a donation only format and will be open during normal hours of operation. The meeting rooms, ballrooms and office are all available to rent. A wedding is already being considered for July! Contact us through our Facebook @TheSpoonerCivicCenter or email us email@example.com or SLein@WisconsinLumberjacks.com.
DW: What is the plan for the restaurant?
SAYHA: Doug and Sophia Lein, owners of the Lumberjacks, will own and operate the bar and restaurant business. They are going to be making some exciting changes and will be open later this summer. Stay tuned to the Hank’s Up North Facebook page for all the updates and announcements.
DW: Will there be a gun show again this year?
SAYHA: Yes! The gun and knife show will go on as planned June 12th and 13th, 2020. The gun show will be held on the ice rink floor. The large garage door on the west side of the rink will be open to allow for plenty of fresh air circulation and the large area of the floor will allow for social distancing. In addition, concessions will be available.
DW: What is going on with the ice rink?
SAYHA: The ice was taken out in March as soon as the hockey season was shut down with the COVID pandemic. The ice will be returning in September in time for the Lumberjack’s Season Opener and youth hockey camps. SAYHA’s season will begin in October and the Learn to Skate Program will be back for any child in our community to learn to skate.
DW: Will the high school team be playing at the Civic Center?
SAYHA: We hope so! Spooner along with Cumberland, Barron, Shell Lake and the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser school districts co-op at the high school level to form the Northwest Icemen. Historically, the Icemen have played games in Barron, Cumberland and Spooner.
DW: Will figure skating be taking place at the Civic Center?
SAYHA: We hope so! The Northwoods Figure Skating Club has historically used the ice rink for their practices and their yearly ice show in March.
DW: How will this arrangement benefit the community?
SAYHA: Spooner and the surrounding area benefit from tourism dollars greatly during the summer months. The Spooner Civic Center brings tourism into our community during the slower winter months. To quote a main street business owner, “I forgot how busy we can be in the winter when there is a tournament or junior game - it is fantastic!” Additionally, community members may rent portions of the Civic Center for weddings, retirement parties, bridal showers, baby showers and civic groups such as Boy Scouts may use the space at no cost to their group upon scheduling with us. The possibilities are endless. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or SLein@WisconsinLumberjacks.com for rates and to plan your fun!
DW: Are the hockey schedules posted for the 2020-2021 season?
SAYHA: Summer is typically when schedules are put together, so please check the website www.SpoonerCivicCenter.com for event schedules as they are firmed up. SAYHA’s youth tournaments are scheduled for January 8-10, 2021, January 22-24, 2021 and January 29th-31st, 2021.
DW: What is happening with the Civic Center employees?
SAYHA: With the building being operated by SAYHA and the Lumberjacks, there are no positions available that will transfer from the previous ownership. An ice facilities manager with over 40 years of experience will be joining us this fall. Watch our social media pages for future job postings.
DW: As you know, DrydenWire.com has been a supporter of the Civic Center and SAYHA and we currently have a sponsor banner at the rink? Will it still be there?
SAYHA: Yes! And good news here! We want to help our community businesses bounce back after the pandemic, therefore we are offering significant reductions in banners and dasher boards from now until August 15th, 2020. A 4X8 banner inside of the ice rink will be $500, and this includes printing. There are also sponsorship packages available for dasher boards for $750, Zamboni wrap, and other opportunities that include website and Facebook ads. After August 15th, 2020 the prices will go up. Current banners will remain up until August 15th, 2020.
DW: Anything else?
SAYHA: The Spooner Civic Center has been an anchor of the community for over 30 years and SAYHA has been the consistent user of the facility. By partnering with the Wisconsin Lumberjacks, the Civic Center can fulfill its true potential of being run by the community for the community. Stay tuned for a date for an open house later this summer!