City OKs rental deal for Cornwall Nationals

Cornwall Nationals proponents Mitch Gagne, Ian Wilson and Rodney Rivette listen to city council discuss a rental agreement on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 for the Ed Lumley Arena. Council has granted the future FHL club a one year agreement with a possible one year extension. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – City council has given the green-light for the mayor and clerk to sign a one season rental agreement with the FHL Cornwall Nationals at the Ed Lumley Arena.

The vote was unanimous during a special council meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Couns. Andre Rivette and David Murphy did not take part in the discussion or vote after declaring conflicts of interest.

“We are one step closer. It’s exciting, this is great. Council unanimously voted to have us here and I think it shows their commitment to hockey in Cornwall. Our mission is to try and get something on the ice for families. I want it to be a family thing,” said Rodney Rivette, future president of the Cornwall Nationals.

Rivette repeatedly said he was trying to “respect the process” with the Federal Hockey League and would have more information during a news conference Saturday at 5 p.m. at a location to be determined.

He said there was a little “snafu” today “where things were out there that kind of hurt us” in the process. “We are not totally finished the process,” he said.

After being questioned by Coun. Mark MacDonald, Parks Division Manager Jamie Fawthrop said the Cornwall Colts weren’t consulted about the incoming deal due to confidentiality concerns.

Owner Ian MacInnis was in the audience during the discussion, choosing to sit at the opposite end of the public gallery from the Cornwall Nationals’ representatives.

Rodney Rivette was asked by Cornwall Newswatch whether their organization will have to do some fence-mending with the Colts.

“We (Mitch Gagne and I) respect the Colts organization. It’s been here for 25 years. You’ll see how much we respect the Colts organization on Saturday. I think that will show how we feel about the Cornwall Colts. We want to make Cornwall a hockey town again,” Rivette said.

“I’m willing to work with the Colts at any time…the door’s always open on my end. I was at the Colts game on Thursday…hopefully we can mend the fences if everything goes according to plan,” he said.

Rivette wouldn’t say whether he or Mitch Gagne had a financial stake in the team. “It’s not something the public needs to know,” nor would he identify the ownership group, choosing to reveal the owners on Saturday.

As for the name Cornwall Nationals, Rivette said with the only Canadian team in the league it will be a Canada-U.S. game or the “nationals…we all have national pride.”

Rivette explained the FHL is the “right fit for our market” as it will be more affordable for fans and a lower overhead for the organization.

“A father and a son can go for a hockey game for under $20. You can’t go to the movies for that. That’s why this league will be a success.”