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U.S. Tennis Association representative visits Massena

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MASSENA - A representative from the U.S. Tennis Association recently visited Massena with an eye toward possibly providing a summer tennis program for kids.

Recreation Superintendent Richard A. Boprey said he had received a call from the representative, who said she would be in the area from Albany and would like to meet with him.

“I took her to Alcoa Field,” where the Massena Recreation Department operates a tennis court, he said.

During her visit, Mr. Boprey said they discussed possible programs including summer tennis for kids, as well as grant funding that could supply tennis rackets and balls.

“She said they would provide netting. She said she was going to try to help get a federal grant to get the courts fixed,” he said. “It’s all preliminary right now.”

The U.S. Tennis Association website lists a number of youth-related tennis activities, including a “Kids’ Tennis Club,” a program that allows kids to sample tennis through supervised play and interactive activities.

“This program is a great way for kids to be introduced to tennis in a safe, open-play setting at local schools, parks, youth centers and tennis facilities,” according to the website. “These ‘clubs’ offer kids the opportunity to have fun, gain confidence and meet new friends, all while enhancing their social and physical development.”

They also promote “10 and Under Tennis,” which they describe as “an exciting new play format for learning children’s tennis, designed to bring kids ages 10 and under into the game by utilizing specialized equipment, shorter court dimensions and modified scoring, all tailored to age and size.”

As that possible effort progresses, Massena recreation officials are also focusing on a more immediate and certain event - the return of TNA Impact wrestling to the Massena Arena on April 19. Among those scheduled to appear are current World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray, Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, Devon, Matt Morgan, Magnus, Velvet Sky and the Aces & Eights faction.

TNA Impact wrestling was last in Massena in May 2011, and that event sold out, according to Mr. Boprey.

“We got it back. I’ve been on and off chatting with the guy (TNA promoter Gary Hathaway). It didn’t work last year,” he said.

This year, however, he got a call asking if they could bring the wrestling organization back to Massena.

“He said, ‘We had a tremendous time. We loved your venue. We loved the way you handled tickets,’” Mr. Boprey said.

It’s a win-win situation for both organizations. TNA Impact wrestling reaps the rewards from the ticket sales, and the Massena Recreation Department receives the rental fee and sales from the concession. Mr. Boprey said their concession netted about $300 during the 2011 show.

“They bring security in. They bring all of the ring in,” he said.

Tickets are on sale now for the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. They’re available at the Massena Arena box office, online at www.flynntix.org or charge by phone at 802-863-5966.

Sales are cash only at the Massena Arena box office, and the box office is generally open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but call ahead first at 769-3161.

Tickets through the arena box office are $21 for bleachers, $36 for general admission ringside and $51 for Gold circle ringside. Fans who purchase a $51 ticket will receive an early-entry autograph session with select Impact Wrestling superstars at 5:30 p.m. Doors will open for the general public at 6:30 p.m.

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