Could Hockey Make A Comeback in the Hub City?

Published 02/19 2014 10:11PM

Updated 02/19 2014 10:36PM

By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- A former Cotton Kings coach and player said it's still hard watching hockey games, knowing there's nowhere to play in Lubbock.

"I really think if the US can capture gold, in the women's and the men's, if they can do it, I think what an amazing moment," Paul Fioroni said.

He's been following Team USA's progress, along with other hockey teams, but said it's not easy to watch when there's nowhere for him to lace up his skates, and hit the ice in town.

He notes that Odessa and Amarillo both have rinks, places people can gather to watch Team USA play, and a place they can celebrate on ice as the team progresses. He also said he doesn't want a rink just so he can play, he also wants a place he can go with his kids to enjoy the ice.

"It's really hard, and it's really hard when my kids ask me, you know, why can't we do that? and there's no ice here," Fioroni said.

Back in September, the Lubbock City Council was scheduled to discuss having the sport go back into the City Bank Coliseum.  Fioroni said that's likely not feasible at this point, and any rink would have to be built.

"I don't think it was a thing where they [City Council] didn't want it, I think it's one of those things where, does it financially work for the City? Does it financially work for the party coming in? And that's what it is. We can't bring something in and expect the City to lose money on it, but we also can't expect a group to come in and spend a lot of money and get nothing from it," Fioroni said.

Fioroni said he's not ready to give up his dreams of seeing an ice rink in Lubbock. "I think if the right people could come together, one day, I think we'll be able to walk on a sheet of ice again, I just don't know if it's going to be soon."

He said the big obstacle that is keeping hockey out of Lubbock is money. "We have to get a group together or an outside group, or a group of some kind of big venture capitalist group, it is going to take a lot of funding to do this and people need to understand that," Fioroni said. "It's not here because of funding, it's not because there's not interest, there's just not the right person to fund it."

Fioroni said it would likely cost five to ten million dollars to build a new skating rink, and said that doesn't even include maintenance or staffing or any of those kinds of costs.

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