Sports

South Kent Minor Hockey Association says dressing room proposal falls flat

By Trevor Terfloth, Chatham Daily News

Shawn Allen, president of the South Kent Minor Hockey Association, is shown with Jan Legue, centre, and her daughter Danielle, 10, at the East Kent Memorial Arena in Ridgetown on Wednesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

Shawn Allen, president of the South Kent Minor Hockey Association, is shown with Jan Legue, centre, and her daughter Danielle, 10, at the East Kent Memorial Arena in Ridgetown on Wednesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

The promise of a new dressing room just doesn’t go far enough, says the hockey association outraged when its girl players were moved to a washroom to accommodate a boys’ team.

The president of the South Kent Minor Hockey Association said Chatham-Kent’s pledge to build a new dressing room with similar amenities in the same location as the other dressing rooms in Ridgetown’s East Kent Memorial Arena is not good enough.

“The room that you describe as the skate-sharpening room has been our office for the past four seasons and is about a 7-foot-by-12-foot size,” association president Shawn Allen said Thursday.

“We feel once you make the necessary additions of the shower, toilet, sink, benches and hooks that this will only reduce the amount of usable space for the female players to next to nothing. The old dressing room that was made available to female players was approximately 15 feet by 20 feet in size.”

Allen said the girls who play with boys in the association just want to be treated fairly.

“We are looking for an equal and comparable option to what was available to the female players up until this season and your proposed solution below fails to do this for our organization,” he said. “Currently as an organization the only space we feel that is ready and comparable would be our old female change room.”

Darren Goyette, recreation facilities supervisor, said the municipality will continue to work with the hockey association on a solution.

He said the proposed room would have everything they need.

“(It) should give them enough room for about eight or nine kids,” Goyette said. “(It’s) going to be more suitable for the numbers they have. When there’s a full girls’ team in there, they use our full change rooms. This is only for some overflow girls that are playing co-ed. It’s usually only two or three at a time.”

The South Kent Minor Hockey Association recently expressed concerns after girls playing in its league were relegated to an accessible washroom at the East Kent Memorial Arena to accommodate a AAA boys’ team. The Chatham-Kent Cyclones lease that dressing room in the arena and conducted renovations at their own expense.

Goyette said the AAA lease agreement was a better use of space, since the room is used by more players on a more frequent basis.

“(The Cyclones) are renting extra ice from us,” he said. “We’re looking at trying to bring in as many rentals as we can.”

While the municipality owns the building, he said the Ridgetown Agricultural Society owns the land around it.

“Even the parking lot for the arena is not owned by us,” Goyette said. “(To expand) we would have to buy land from them . . . and get approvals.”

tterfloth@postmedia.com

@DailyNewsTT