Thursday, June 08, 2006


2010 Winter Olympics: Small Ice for Hockey

In the midst of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Olympic bigwigs have been visiting Vancouver, worried that we aren't sinking enough taxpayers' money into the giant moneywaste/party known as the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

As the buildup to the games has already produced cost overruns (to no surprise), there was this announcement that will have some effect on the on-ice product in 2010:

Story Link:

The men's and women's hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics will be played on the smaller, NHL-sized ice surface, a move that will save organizers of the Vancouver Games $10 million in construction costs.

The decision was announced Wednesday at the end of two days of meetings between the International Olympic Committee co-ordination commission and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (VANOC).

Using the smaller ice surface will eliminate the need for costly renovations to GM Place, home of the NHL Vancouver Canucks.

It also means more seats will be available for fans, which will produce more revenue, said John Furlong, VANOC's chief executive officer.

"For us this is a highly responsible decision," said Furlong. "It's a more sustainable decision for us. It means a lot less complexity for the organizing committee preparing the venue.

"It reduces our costs by about $10 million. More importantly, it means about 35,000 more tickets will be sold."
The tickets are more important than cutting $10mil? Uh huh.

Of course, Furlong's not spending his own money (not much of it, since he probably has a good accountant who can find him good tax loopholes). It's typical for 'public' projects go over because there is no real penalty to the Vancouver organizers if the project goes over budget.

This is also why the NHL is never going to change the ice surface. It costs far too much money to make the initial change, plus the loss in expensive seating areas would be another big blow.

At least taxpayers in BC will be spared $10mil for something that we could do without. Having the smaller ice surface with IIHF rules will make it a very interesting mix.

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