Guerin also said that he had stopped by an area restaurant following the last evening game of a weekend tournament and encountered upwards of 30 people – players and families – from out-of-town (but in-state) teams who were also contributing to the local economy.

That doesn’t even begin to account for the hundreds of players, coaches and families who crowd local hotels on tournament weekends, or the aggregate impact of up to 1,000 kids who participate in youth and high school hockey every week in L-A.

Denis Berube, president of the Twin City Titans youth hockey teams, said that “the average cost per player, including ice time and equipment, could easily be $1,500 or so,” and thus direct expenditures may exceed $1,500,000, before anyone buys a hot dog or hot chocolate.

Recognition of the impact of season-long youth hockey also does not account for the direct and indirect economic impact of adult leagues, open skating opportunities, sponsorships, and other potential uses for the Norway Savings Bank Arena.

Add to all of that, the permanent jobs at the arena, the hundreds of construction jobs to bring this state-of-the-art facility to fruition, the concession businesses and jobs, and specialty contractors who will be employed for non-ice-based events from time to time; even monthly electric bills in the range of $12,000 to chill two sheets of ice, and we have a new economic powerhouse in Auburn.

But everyone engaged in the local hockey program agrees that the biggest impact will be on tournament weekends. The twin sheet design of the arena is unique in Maine and will enable L-A to host major hockey events that exceed the capabilities of any other rink in the state, and New England-wide events such as the Maine Amateur Hockey festival in which one team from Maine will take the ice along with 10 teams from Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“Given the rich tradition of hockey in L-A,” said the ice arena’s general manager, Josh MacDonald, “it’s only right that this community will be the dominant destination for tournaments and festivals that include teams from all over the state and all around New England. We’ve always had a reputation for encouraging great hockey.”

MacDonald added, “And now people will be coming here from all around New England to experience it for themselves.”

And from gasoline, to snacks and meals, to lodging and all manner of retail activity, L-A is prepared to welcome new visitors from away, especially at a time of year when tourists have traditionally been a little scarce.

With proximity to great skiing, ice fishing and the other attractions of the Western Maine Lakes and Mountains tourism region, hockey families can use the community as a base for a larger vacation experience.

MacDonald agrees with the assessment by the Auburn City Council during consideration of the permitting process for the Arena, whereby the conclusion was that the facility would not only cover its own operating costs, but more importantly, would generate direct cash infusions into the community and restore L-A to a position of preeminence in New England’s hockey culture.

The “Welcome!” sign has been hung.


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