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City spruces up ice rink for new tenant Privateers

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The municipal ice rink at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds will be ready in time for the first puck to drop in the Thousand Islands Privateers’ inaugural season in Watertown.

In recent weeks, the city has been preparing for the Federal Hockey League team’s move from Bonnie Castle Recreation Center, Alexandria Bay.

City Parks and Recreation Department and Public Works employees have been busy sprucing up the 1,400-seat ice arena. Workers have been painting, installing a shower in a locker room and purchasing equipment for new menu items in the concession stand.

Safety netting to protect spectators soon will be delivered and installed around almost the entire rink, and parks crews plan to put down ice featuring a new Privateers logo.

In all, the city plans to spend about $40,000 to get the rink ready.

“We’re working on it,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner said Wednesday afternoon while her crew was painting a nearby metal railing.

The most complex job, costing $11,452, has been installing a shower in a locker room that hockey referees and officials will use, Mrs. Gardner said. Collamer Supply Co. LLC, East Syracuse, will install the safety netting for $28,714.

“The city has been tremendous in working with us,” said Privateers owner Nicole E. Kirnan.

The Privateers’ season begins at home against the Cape Cod Bluefins at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26. The team will continue to be called the Thousand Islands Privateers but will have a new logo and jerseys, Ms. Kirnan said.

So far, the team has sold “several hundred” season tickets and it is pursuing corporate sponsors, Ms. Kirnan said. She said she expects the team to continue to draw crowds of at least 1,000 people, with “more casual fans” attending this season because of the larger fan base that Watertown can provide.

The Privateers will start training Oct. 22 in Clayton and move to Watertown the next day, Ms. Kirnan said.

The team has lined up Savory Cafe to handle the beer concession, while the city will run its own concession stand. Pizza from Bernardo’s Pizzeria and chili are among some of the new menu items.

The city hopes to reap $45,000 more in concession stand revenue than it did in the past two years. The city should expect each fan to spend about $3 to $4 in concessions per game, the team said.

Before the season begins, Mrs. Gardner will meet with representatives from the Privateers and from area figure skating, minor league hockey and high school groups to make sure all are happy with the ice time schedule, she said.

Mrs. Gardner said she or Celia E. Cook, Parks and Recreation program manager, will be on hand at all games this year “to make sure everything is going right because it’s the first season.”

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