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Thread: Demonstration against the planned closing of an Arena

  1. #1
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    Demonstration against the planned closing of an Arena

    Today at 17:00 a demonstration will take place in Budapest, in front of the OTP Bank Rt headquarters (the biggest bank in Hungary with enormously huge profit) against the planned closing of the Koriközpont (former Astra Zeneca Center). The Arena was built in 2002-2003 from private investment and has a Center Rink with a capacity of 2008 spectators (all seated) and a Training Rink with a capacity for 300 spectators. Koriközpont itself is the home ice for many Hungarian ice-hockey clubs (senior, junior, women and amateur teams as well) and is practically always full, it hosts also several amateur or U8, U10 tournaments. The most prestigous team using Koriközpont as home ice is Ferencváros, the Hungarian record title-holder.

    The Arena itself always suffered from financial problems since the incomes covered the operation but were not enough to cover the bank loan costs. A year ago the building became part of the portfolio of the real estate development agency of the bank that provided the bank loan for the construction. The bank itself declared that they try to sell the building to investors and seeking a solution which can ensure the further operation of the rinks. Moreover, the bank declares itself quite often as a generous sponsor of sports. It seems that there are two concurrent offers for the building, one from a television company who wants to use it to produce TV shows and from a group of private investors who want to operate it further as an ice center. The two bids are somewhere in the same height, but the bank rather wants to sell it to the TV company and with that the biggest permanent indoor facility of the capital could be closed. On the demonstration a petition will be handed over to the chairperson of the bank and we hope the building will serve the Hungarian ice sports in the future as well.

  2. #2
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    demonstration again

    Two years passed, and Hungarian hockey has a good reason to protest again.

    In 2002, two years after the fire destroyed Budapest Sportcsarnok and its permanent training rink (the first permanent indoor icerink in Hungary and the only indoor rink in Budapest at that time), a new rink (Gyakorló Jégcsarnok/Budapest Practicerink) was built to replace the training rink. The original agreement was that ice-hockey and skating (short track and figure skating) will get equal time in the rink, but when the rink opened, it was never more than 20% (or 28 hours a week) of the ice-time for ice-hockey. Moreover, important things were missing from the rink which made impossible to play official matches here. Still, it was a big step forward for many kids who went there for trainings several times a week, six clubs and their almost 300 kids got ice time regularly in this centrally located and easily accessible facility.

    Since the opening of the Budapest Practicerink the Hungarian Skating Federation always tried to get out ice-hockey from the rink. They did it despite there is a valid contract between the owner of the rink (State) and the Ice-Hockey Federation to use the rink and last time in September 2008 the State Secretary for Sports guaranteed the access for the rink in an official statement. The state organisation responsible for the sports have changed several times, so did their heads, but their aim (to eliminate ice-hockey from there on the intentions of the Skating Federation) however, remained. End of last year an agreement was reached between the Skating and Ice-hockey federations, the Ministry responsible for sports issues and NUSI (the state organisation that operates the rink). The main points were that Ice-hockey will leave the rink as soon as there will be a replacement ready. The suggested replacement was the renovated rink in the middle of the Millennáris, the national bicycle stadium, covred by a tent, providing an ice season for about six months.

    Unfortunately, the management of the Skating Federation achieved that a renovation is taking place in the Practicerink nowadays (the construction of the Millenáris rink didn't even start), which includes the removal of the boards and the replacement of them by a special board system used on short track events. This is a feature that only some icerinks have in the whole world, but makes ice-hockey impossible there. Normally rinks and ice time are shared by the three sports and during short track trainings or races the protection is inside of the ice-hockey boards. Nobody knows who ordered these works, but it seems that it is the Skating Federation, which is not the owner of the rink.

    Construction works on Millenáris rink are did not even start yet and it is completely irrealistic that the rink will open in september as it was planned, but Ice-hockey have to leave Practicerink by 7th June.

    NUSI operates a second indoor rink which was built in Újpest, about 15kms from the city centre, replacing the old rink. This Megyeri út rink is the home of team Újpest, the biggest developing club in the capital with more than 200 kids from the age of 6. It was some minutes before Team Hungary started to play against Canada on the 2009 IHWC when Újpest management received a letter from NUSI ordering to move out of the rink within 3 days despite the club have a valid contract for 18 more years to use the rink. On 30. april the rink was closed and it is closed since then. No wonder, that the newest idea to replace the Practicerink is to give ice for all the clubs in Újpest. An other question is, how is that possible. Újpest have 200 kids, the other clubs from the Practicerink have an other 300, and they all need time for trainings and matches. Megyeri út is already full from 5AM to 12PM and the hours between 2PM and 8PM, convenient for trainings for elementary school kids are already full.

    So, at the moment things does not look engouraging. Practicerink seems to be lost before Millenáris may be ready, and team Újpest also lost its traditional rink. Today hundreds demonstrate against these decisions at the Parliament building.

  3. #3
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    Are there any news about Megyeri út rink? I am emotionally attached to it since it is the place where both of my sons played their first international tournaments (traditional December 30th, szupermini tournament) and we always enjoyed the hospitality there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drax View Post
    Are there any news about Megyeri út rink? I am emotionally attached to it since it is the place where both of my sons played their first international tournaments (traditional December 30th, szupermini tournament) and we always enjoyed the hospitality there.
    Megyeri út rink can be accessed from next Friday (19th June). But no ice until end of July.

  5. #5
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    What I don't understand is how the Skating Fed can force out Hockey when there's still 18 more years left on the contract to use Gyakorlo?

    Why not just show up sometime, two hockey teams, and start playing? Have a skate-in in protest. If they don't want to get hurt, the speed skaters can start skating even faster! (</semijoke>)

    If Skating Fed ordered the replacement of the boards, why doesn't Hockey just go and change them back? They have a contractual right to be using the facility, too, so SF couldn't complain much if Hockey did something like that.

    I'm really not understanding this. If Hockey has the valid contract, JUST SHOW UP AND USE THE FACILITY. In a court, if Skating Fed tried to take it there, Skating Fed would *have* to lose, since they are the ones who are impeding Hockey's contractual right to be there.

    (This makes as much sense to me as the railways selling 8000 freight cars for scrap and then complaining they don't have enough wagons...)

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