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RMU cutting hockey programs


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The Bladerunners rinks where not sold cause of profitability, they along with mutiple properties including a large number of hotels where sold cause of a falling out between the brothers that owned the properties. While all 3 rinks required upgrades to icemanking equipment and other maintannce, the sale price clearly reflected the as is state. All 3 sold for less that 1/2 of the value or more on building a new comprable building. Since the sale Baierl has upgrade both surfaces icemaking equipment and made many updates to the facility, Bethel dropped to one sheet and did many update to the building, I do believe they are still running on same ice making equipment. Alpha has added Ice to the roller side and I think they replaced the ice equipment on another surface 2 years ago, they really haven't done much more as the roof leaks and the place could use a good cleaning. @Lifelongbender I guess I should submit my resume to Black Bear, can I use you as a referance. I just want to see rinks doing well and hockey growing in Pittsburgh, otherwise we would have nothing to talk about. I think RMU is sighting cost of the rink to defelct the real reason they decided to kill the programs. I am sure they could have done the math with the econmical profesors and engineers at the school and figured out that replacing some of the compressors or ice making equipment would be cost benifical and save them money in the long run. That technology, better insulations and use of LED lighting has saved rinks so much money and cost from what they paid in the past. Most rinks in the area where able to upgrade to LED at no cost with programs that would pay for the lighting if they signed a 3 year agreement to use them as their electrical provider.

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10 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

The Bladerunners rinks where not sold cause of profitability, they along with mutiple properties including a large number of hotels where sold cause of a falling out between the brothers that owned the properties. While all 3 rinks required upgrades to icemanking equipment and other maintannce, the sale price clearly reflected the as is state. All 3 sold for less that 1/2 of the value or more on building a new comprable building. Since the sale Baierl has upgrade both surfaces icemaking equipment and made many updates to the facility, Bethel dropped to one sheet and did many update to the building, I do believe they are still running on same ice making equipment. Alpha has added Ice to the roller side and I think they replaced the ice equipment on another surface 2 years ago, they really haven't done much more as the roof leaks and the place could use a good cleaning. @Lifelongbender I guess I should submit my resume to Black Bear, can I use you as a referance. I just want to see rinks doing well and hockey growing in Pittsburgh, otherwise we would have nothing to talk about. I think RMU is sighting cost of the rink to defelct the real reason they decided to kill the programs. I am sure they could have done the math with the econmical profesors and engineers at the school and figured out that replacing some of the compressors or ice making equipment would be cost benifical and save them money in the long run. That technology, better insulations and use of LED lighting has saved rinks so much money and cost from what they paid in the past. Most rinks in the area where able to upgrade to LED at no cost with programs that would pay for the lighting if they signed a 3 year agreement to use them as their electrical provider.

@mrfreeze Yeah, sorry if that comment seemed out of line. It just seems like any time anyone says anything positive about an organization they get accused of being shills for it. I was just kidding around.

I always wondered if the Bladerunners might have fallen victim to that sort of thing, actually. If that's true, it makes sense.

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This story is now on the main NHL page on ESPN, so this is big news for sure.  And from what I have been reading, there was zero effort from the school administrators in trying to save the program through local / corporate fundraising.  If the program was on life support communities tend to rally behind efforts like this.  

https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31516135/in-surprise-move-robert-morris-cuts-men-women-ice-hockey-programs-less-two-months-hosting-frozen-four

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They didn't do a single thing to help save the programs. It all boils down to this: President Howard does not give a flying you know what about hockey. 

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I guess a cynic might note that, should they sell the island facility, it's much cheaper to operate a basketball arena than it is to operate an ice rink. And one could also observe that the basketball arena happens to be on campus - this has been noted above, I believe - and therefore much more accessible to students. Plus there is the fact that they just built the basketball arena.

It's honestly not hard to imagine that this was all in the works way back when the new basketball arena was planned. I'm not saying that's the case, and I am definitely not saying that I have information about this of any kind. I'm just thinking out loud that the idea is plausible. One can imagine a long-term plan that even had a buyer for the rink in mind. Their press is now saying that the current number of D1 sports they sponsor is more inline with other schools of their size. It can't be the case that this was spur of the moment.

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Colleges are re-evaluating all the sports programs.  Covid accelerated the financial decline of many universities.  I would be curious how many of the effected athletes were paying full boat vs. on some type of aid.

Quick look at the finances of Bobby Mo show that they are struggling.  Enrollment is down.  They cut staff.  Their endowment is one of the lowest of the 800 colleges in PA and is poorly managed.  At ~$37m it is less than the cost to run the place for a year (~$59m).

Bottom line, they need to attract full paying students. 

 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

The Bladerunners rinks where not sold cause of profitability, they along with mutiple properties including a large number of hotels where sold cause of a falling out between the brothers that owned the properties. While all 3 rinks required upgrades to icemanking equipment and other maintannce, the sale price clearly reflected the as is state. All 3 sold for less that 1/2 of the value or more on building a new comprable building. Since the sale Baierl has upgrade both surfaces icemaking equipment and made many updates to the facility, Bethel dropped to one sheet and did many update to the building, I do believe they are still running on same ice making equipment. Alpha has added Ice to the roller side and I think they replaced the ice equipment on another surface 2 years ago, they really haven't done much more as the roof leaks and the place could use a good cleaning. @Lifelongbender I guess I should submit my resume to Black Bear, can I use you as a referance. I just want to see rinks doing well and hockey growing in Pittsburgh, otherwise we would have nothing to talk about. I think RMU is sighting cost of the rink to defelct the real reason they decided to kill the programs. I am sure they could have done the math with the econmical profesors and engineers at the school and figured out that replacing some of the compressors or ice making equipment would be cost benifical and save them money in the long run. That technology, better insulations and use of LED lighting has saved rinks so much money and cost from what they paid in the past. Most rinks in the area where able to upgrade to LED at no cost with programs that would pay for the lighting if they signed a 3 year agreement to use them as their electrical provider.

The comparisons of Baierl and YMCA rinks having the same ownership before being sold should end there.  YMCA rink is a dump with the poorest lighting of any rink in western PA.  

Credit the ownership group at Baierl, in turning what was once a rather poor facility to one of the better ones locally.  The updates and investment they put into that place are too numerous to list here, and anyone that frequented there before the sale /  after the sale can attest to the turnaround.  Being owned by a group that actually understands hockey sure helps.

Edited by fafa fohi
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In regards to the death Hess Ice Rink just spent four million dollars on upgrades. In the last five years their PAHL teams have almost doubled. They also added two co-op varsity teams, 2 JV, and 3 middle schools teams. Expectation is within 2 years a co-op will go pure then having 3 varsity programs. 
 

That investment was a business decision based on increased usage. 

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14 hours ago, nemesis8679 said:

I always thought it was crazy that Esmark, a legit AAA team, plays at the shit hole PIA. 

Total hearsay, but I was told Esmark maybe moving to Ice Castle. While I have nothing to back this and while I don't think it will happen and King Ralph and Gary would not get along so well with MR K and the Crazy Russian. But this would make sense as I feel Esmark would have a better chance at building a program in the south hills and keeping some talent from going north to PPE, this would start at the younger ages and then move to older as they could be a program from Suirts to Midgets. I know Preds has U14-U18 options and Lebo and Shaha have teams at different levels. Looking forward PPE and Vengeance are the only Tier 1 from u10 - u18. It would be nice if one orginazation offered a full package under 1 roof. I know it was like that when Am Pens merged with Eastern for years, They had Tier 1, Tier 2 and Developmental, but since the Vengeance, Steel City are run as seperate programs and are loosly affliated, The Steel City ADM and Developmental programs are dwindaling and poorly run, they change Dad directors every year or two and are struggling to fill their Crosby program. Steel City once had over 25 teams and are having trouble fielding 2-3 at each age now, add that the Aviators are now skating out of that rink and seem to be pulling some away from SCIR and Vipers, it's not going to be good for those orginazations. Hopefully we are not talking about how these org are gone in a couple years.

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On 5/28/2021 at 6:28 AM, Lifelongbender said:

@mrfreeze Yeah, sorry if that comment seemed out of line. It just seems like any time anyone says anything positive about an organization they get accused of being shills for it. I was just kidding around.

I always wondered if the Bladerunners might have fallen victim to that sort of thing, actually. If that's true, it makes sense.

You know, it seems the really crazy nasty people are no longer posting. This has settled down into something good. Ever check out a forum in Michigan? 😳

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4 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

Total hearsay, but I was told Esmark maybe moving to Ice Castle. While I have nothing to back this and while I don't think it will happen and King Ralph and Gary would not get along so well with MR K and the Crazy Russian. But this would make sense as I feel Esmark would have a better chance at building a program in the south hills and keeping some talent from going north to PPE, this would start at the younger ages and then move to older as they could be a program from Suirts to Midgets. I know Preds has U14-U18 options and Lebo and Shaha have teams at different levels. Looking forward PPE and Vengeance are the only Tier 1 from u10 - u18. It would be nice if one orginazation offered a full package under 1 roof. I know it was like that when Am Pens merged with Eastern for years, They had Tier 1, Tier 2 and Developmental, but since the Vengeance, Steel City are run as seperate programs and are loosly affliated, The Steel City ADM and Developmental programs are dwindaling and poorly run, they change Dad directors every year or two and are struggling to fill their Crosby program. Steel City once had over 25 teams and are having trouble fielding 2-3 at each age now, add that the Aviators are now skating out of that rink and seem to be pulling some away from SCIR and Vipers, it's not going to be good for those orginazations. Hopefully we are not talking about how these org are gone in a couple years.

Yep. Steel City is a perfect example of what I have been talking about regarding resources not being spent at the younger ages. All top heavy. With only a few PAHL programs creating new players, all the organizations fight over the players coming out of the programs who make the investment. All the programs, no matter the level. Year after year. And then the ridiculous heavy recruiting commences. 

This isn't a healthy hockey market.

Big Bear seems to concentrate at each level, anyway. Parent driven hockey results in poor development of the market. 

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Small update on the hockey program - I was told the NCAA are the ones that wanted the rink updated. Does anyone know what these updates would have been for NCAA standards ? 

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47 minutes ago, Danner27 said:

Small update on the hockey program - I was told the NCAA are the ones that wanted the rink updated. Does anyone know what these updates would have been for NCAA standards ? 

It would seem strange that NCAA would be pushing this right now, starnge thing is RMU had plans to move the mens program to UPMC with the third rink, I don't think seating was to much better, but they would get an amazing locker room and access to the Pens workout facility. Being so far off campus did not make sense to me, but I do think it would have helped them recruit kids. I know when kids are looking at schools and junior programs the main thing they really look at is the facilities, sometime more than the education factor. Penn State has really taken over in this area as the go to and I think the rink and locker rooms has lots to do with it. The USHL facilities are also amazing, These programs are really spending money in this area. I think now would be an excelent time to push the Hunt Armory project, with Peduto on his way out we may see this actually happening and you could get the Pens and one of the local schools to step up and make this a home rink with a path to Division 1 hockey, Chattam could move in, Pitt and CMU are right there, Duquesne is not far. This could really be a good option for these college, add some diversity programing to make the current Karens happy. You could also work with PIHL and make this a netrual site location for games of the week. That location has plenty of space to build mutiple locker rooms for these programs, Central Catholic would also be a great option and could really grow it's program to another level. If they do the mini rinks, you could offer a great ADM option and use those for training and lessons. Just takes the right people to get behind it.

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Posted (edited)

 

3 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

It would seem strange that NCAA would be pushing this right now, starnge thing is RMU had plans to move the mens program to UPMC with the third rink, I don't think seating was to much better, but they would get an amazing locker room and access to the Pens workout facility. Being so far off campus did not make sense to me, but I do think it would have helped them recruit kids. I know when kids are looking at schools and junior programs the main thing they really look at is the facilities, sometime more than the education factor. Penn State has really taken over in this area as the go to and I think the rink and locker rooms has lots to do with it. The USHL facilities are also amazing, These programs are really spending money in this area. I think now would be an excelent time to push the Hunt Armory project, with Peduto on his way out we may see this actually happening and you could get the Pens and one of the local schools to step up and make this a home rink with a path to Division 1 hockey, Chattam could move in, Pitt and CMU are right there, Duquesne is not far. This could really be a good option for these college, add some diversity programing to make the current Karens happy. You could also work with PIHL and make this a netrual site location for games of the week. That location has plenty of space to build mutiple locker rooms for these programs, Central Catholic would also be a great option and could really grow it's program to another level. If they do the mini rinks, you could offer a great ADM option and use those for training and lessons. Just takes the right people to get behind it.

 

Hockey is going to help Chattam, Pitt, CMU, and Duquesne with diversity? 

If hockey can bring in kids that will pay full tuition, those schools will consider it.  Otherwise it is a non-starter.

Unless some rich alumni decides to pay for it.

Edited by carroll81
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13 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

add that the Aviators are now skating out of that rink and seem to be pulling some away from SCIR and Vipers, it's not going to be good for those orginazations.

We'll see about that. It could be hearsay, but it sounds like the Aviators are going to be pressed a little for ice. A handful of teams, and a lot less slots for all of them than what Renegades or Vipers have. Sounds like some parents weren't happy with the coaching they had the last season and were enticed away by the Aviators coach. Now that they went and committed to Aviators, we'll see whether the grass is greener or not when the coaches they weren't happy with won't be the coaches they would've had again anyway, and that they'll presumably be getting less ice or a lot more shared ice now for perhaps more or the same amount of money. 

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18 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

It would seem strange that NCAA would be pushing this right now, starnge thing is RMU had plans to move the mens program to UPMC with the third rink, I don't think seating was to much better, but they would get an amazing locker room and access to the Pens workout facility. Being so far off campus did not make sense to me, but I do think it would have helped them recruit kids. I know when kids are looking at schools and junior programs the main thing they really look at is the facilities, sometime more than the education factor. Penn State has really taken over in this area as the go to and I think the rink and locker rooms has lots to do with it. The USHL facilities are also amazing, These programs are really spending money in this area. I think now would be an excelent time to push the Hunt Armory project, with Peduto on his way out we may see this actually happening and you could get the Pens and one of the local schools to step up and make this a home rink with a path to Division 1 hockey, Chattam could move in, Pitt and CMU are right there, Duquesne is not far. This could really be a good option for these college, add some diversity programing to make the current Karens happy. You could also work with PIHL and make this a netrual site location for games of the week. That location has plenty of space to build mutiple locker rooms for these programs, Central Catholic would also be a great option and could really grow it's program to another level. If they do the mini rinks, you could offer a great ADM option and use those for training and lessons. Just takes the right people to get behind it.

The armory?  I have been hearing it has been coming for over 6 years, and still nothing, it will never happen.  I guess Chatham’s programs are still ok, but the others, Pitt ditched their D2 a couple years back and has been trying get rid of their D1 as well.  CMU, doesn’t have hockey any more, and Duquesne has one team, but they struggle.  

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6 hours ago, Eddie Shore said:

The armory?  I have been hearing it has been coming for over 6 years, and still nothing, it will never happen.  I guess Chatham’s programs are still ok, but the others, Pitt ditched their D2 a couple years back and has been trying get rid of their D1 as well.  CMU, doesn’t have hockey any more, and Duquesne has one team, but they struggle.  

My statement was only in hope of a school in that area would step up in the next couple years. I know the state of all the programs mentioned and over the last 20 years I have seen these as well as other programs at different levels. To make it work you have to get an AD willing to make it work and a school willing to take a chance, you could have outside influence and investors. It is highly unlikey, but you never know. Years ago W and J was on that path, I would have never thought that school would be a canidate for NCAA or even Robert Morris before they built Island Sports, but it did happen, atleast for RMU. They had a motivated AD, willing school and Hillman Corp as well as some others push and completed the rink. Again highly unlikley it will happen, but you never know.

 

As far as Hunt Armory, it has been 6 plus years and many changes and stahls. It is also unlikley it will happen, but with an upcoming change to local Administration could find this project getting over the political hurdles it has faced. Why do you really think it has not gone through. It all comes down to money and who is making out in the deal. The ones in control want paid or their friends paid to make this happen. I can guarentee you that the people in charge of this project will require the use of certain contrators or firms at elevated prices in order to move forward.

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4 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

My statement was only in hope of a school in that area would step up in the next couple years. I know the state of all the programs mentioned and over the last 20 years I have seen these as well as other programs at different levels. To make it work you have to get an AD willing to make it work and a school willing to take a chance, you could have outside influence and investors. It is highly unlikey, but you never know. Years ago W and J was on that path, I would have never thought that school would be a canidate for NCAA or even Robert Morris before they built Island Sports, but it did happen, atleast for RMU. They had a motivated AD, willing school and Hillman Corp as well as some others push and completed the rink. Again highly unlikley it will happen, but you never know.

 

As far as Hunt Armory, it has been 6 plus years and many changes and stahls. It is also unlikley it will happen, but with an upcoming change to local Administration could find this project getting over the political hurdles it has faced. Why do you really think it has not gone through. It all comes down to money and who is making out in the deal. The ones in control want paid or their friends paid to make this happen. I can guarentee you that the people in charge of this project will require the use of certain contrators or firms at elevated prices in order to move forward.

No, in order to make it work you would need a market that would support it, which Pittsburgh does not have.  They don’t support the ACHA teams, they don’t support Chatham, they don’t support the Vengeance Junior Team, and they didn’t support RMU.  All of these programs had family and a few friends in the stands and that was it.  No school or AD is going to “take a chance” on that. But if it makes you feel better go ahead and keep hoping.

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7 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

My statement was only in hope of a school in that area would step up in the next couple years. I know the state of all the programs mentioned and over the last 20 years I have seen these as well as other programs at different levels. To make it work you have to get an AD willing to make it work and a school willing to take a chance, you could have outside influence and investors. It is highly unlikey, but you never know. Years ago W and J was on that path, I would have never thought that school would be a canidate for NCAA or even Robert Morris before they built Island Sports, but it did happen, atleast for RMU. They had a motivated AD, willing school and Hillman Corp as well as some others push and completed the rink. Again highly unlikley it will happen, but you never know.

 

As far as Hunt Armory, it has been 6 plus years and many changes and stahls. It is also unlikley it will happen, but with an upcoming change to local Administration could find this project getting over the political hurdles it has faced. Why do you really think it has not gone through. It all comes down to money and who is making out in the deal. The ones in control want paid or their friends paid to make this happen. I can guarentee you that the people in charge of this project will require the use of certain contrators or firms at elevated prices in order to move forward.

Unfortunately for the Armory, it will even be more difficult with the new Mayor/Administration.

There is no way that someone that ran saying that there is a black Pittsburgh and a White Pittsburgh is going to make a hockey facility that will primarily benefit privileged white families.  Especially when you consider that another gripe his campaign ran on was bouncing underprivileged families for progress in East Liberty and the surrounding areas.  So the East side of the city already has a target on its back.

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