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UMass Board of Trustees Votes to Continue UMass Lowell Hockey Program

Today, the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts approved a number of recommendations by the UMass Lowell Hockey Task Force that will enable the hockey program to continue during the 2007-2008 season.

Those recommendations include:

  • A one-year re-negotiation of the university's current lease with the Tsongas Arena, with assurance of a re-negotiation of any long-term lease involving the university, its hockey program, the Tsongas Arena and the City of Lowell;
  • A restructuring of issues related to Tsongas Arena that would allow the River Hawks to remain in Hockey East;
  • A fundamental reordering of contractual and financial arrangements concerning use of Tsongas Arena;
  • Changes in the issuing of scholarships in a manner that will result in more balanced recruitment of players, in order to have
    the hockey team achieve at a consistent level, year-to-year.

"This action by the Board of Trustees will allow the River Hawks hockey team to continue competing in Hockey East," said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson.

"Division I hockey has long been a signature sports program at UMass Lowell.  The games played at Tsongas Arena have been important entertainment opportunities for the campus community, as well as for the entire Greater Lowell region," he added. "I am optimistic about finding long-term solutions to the current difficulties."

"We are committed to continuing our negotiations with the Lowell City Council, with the active involvement of the State House delegation and new UMass Lowell chancellor, Marty Meehan, in hopes of resolving these various issues related to the UMass Lowell hockey program," stated Matthew E. Carlin, chairman of the Board of Trustees' Committee on Athletics.

Last week, the Lowell City Council approved a recommendation by the Tsongas Arena Commission to approve a one-year amendment to the university's lease for the team's use of the Tsongas Arena facility. 

Among the concessions requested by the university and approved unanimously by the Lowell City Council were:

  • The  university must retain 100% of the food and beverage revenues from the River Hawks' 17 home games;
  • The elimination of the university's annual $50,000 payment to the arena;
  • A 50/50 split of all revenue generated through the sale of advertising on the Tsongas Arena exterior electronic message center;
  • Written agreement not to schedule doubleheader dates for the River Hawks with the American Hockey League affiliate Lowell Devils;
  • A long-term written commitment from the City of Lowell to establish a new partnership with the university; New terms in this partnership agreement must include, at a minimum, a 50/50 split of all advertising revenues sold at the Tsongas Arena and a fair split of on-site parking revenues generated during university hockey games; The agreement must also include a deferred- maintenance trust fund to protect against future capital failures and to pay for needed improvements; and
  • Written agreement that city officials will not request dates reserved for university hockey games unless the requests are made in accordance with the lease agreement and with the full support of the university.

The 6,500-seat Tsongas Arena, named for the late U.S. Senator Paul E. Tsongas, a Lowell native and former presidential candidate, opened in 1998 and was built with $4 million contributions each from the University of Massachusetts and the City of Lowell, as well as $20 million from the state, with the understanding that the arena would benefit the university.

Contact:  Bill Wright, 617.287.7065



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