Spartans, RRrink end contract – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

The Southern Oregon Spartans have every intention of returning to play in the 2022-23 season and making their long-awaited debut in the United States Premier Hockey League.

It just won’t happen at RRRink in Medford.

The Spartans, who announced last month that they have pulled out of the 2021-22 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving restrictions in Oregon, and The RRRink have ended their working relationship by not renewing the Spartans contract.

The Spartans have already removed all of their gear from the RRRink, according to owner and head coach Dylan Martin – which is well before the current contract expires on July 31.

“When we announced that we weren’t going to play, the RRrink made the business decision not to renew our contract in the future,” said Martin. “I don’t know if this has completely severed our relationship between the Spartans and The RRRink – you never know how things may change in the future and maybe play in this facility in the future. But, in the meantime, we are not going to let the Spartans die.

Terry Smith, consultant for The RRRink, has confirmed that the Spartans who did not participate in the 2021-22 season played a major role in the decision not to renew the contract for another year.

“The Spartans ended (the relationship) themselves when they said they weren’t going to have a 2021-22 season,” Smith said. “Once that was communicated to us and made public, we terminated their contract. “

Martin said the USPHL – which competed for much of the 2021 calendar year – fully supports the Spartans’ decision not to play in the 2021-22 season.

The Spartans first joined the USPHL in April 2020.

“We were really supported in this decision by the United States Premier Hockey League and the division we are in,” said Martin. “We had league meetings in Las Vegas a while back, and they supported our decision and that it was in the best interest of the Spartans, in the best interest of the league itself, that we didn’t play. not this season. “

The fact that the Spartans won’t be playing RRRink doesn’t necessarily mean the plan now is to suddenly move the team out of Rogue Valley, either.

In fact, if it depends on Martin, it will be quite the opposite.

Martin, who, along with his wife Brie, has owned the Spartans since June 2019, wants to keep the team here in Medford and build a brand new rink and facility for the team as part of a multi-site project.

“The Spartans are alive and well, so it’s just a matter of finding a way to play here in the valley – and that would be to build our own facility,” said Martin. “We’ve already partnered with a few nonprofits and we’re going to start our own nonprofit, and we’re going to see if we can bring a big resort to town. “

The RRRink, which reopened for public skating earlier this month, continues to host youth hockey this summer.

And, according to Smith, they have an established junior squad similar to the Spartans that they’ve lined up to fill the void.

“The most important thing is that there is nothing that can really change the past. The Martins have decided not to be part of the RRRink. They never got us into the conversations, they just decided laterally not to have a season, ”said Smith. “So the RRrink has decided to look ahead and partner with a property and a team that we hope will be very attractive and strong going forward.

Martin said he had previously had meetings with City of Medford officials about building a new facility, which would have a larger capacity than the RRRink.

As part of the process, the Spartans partnered with a pair of local nonprofits and started their own nonprofit, Martin says, with the ultimate vision of building something.

“In terms of what it will take to get something like this built, we’re now in the funding phase of it,” Martin said. “My wife and I knew the Spartans had passed this facility a long time ago. It’s good to sell sold-out games and everything, but what if we could sell high capacity games. We have been working on this project for quite some time now.

According to Martin, if the Spartans were to inaugurate a new facility today, it would take a year and a half to complete.

“The timing of construction is very important because we don’t want our grand opening to be in July, which is not hockey season,” said Martin.

The Spartans haven’t played a game since November 2020, when the Oregon Health Authority’s reopening hiatus forced them to cancel the 2020-21 season right after it started.

Martin wanted to avoid a situation like what happened in November, when the players were forced to see their time with the Spartans end just weeks after it started.

“In May the restrictions were still very tight, and the last thing we wanted to do was bring 25 guys into town, some of them from overseas, just to shut down earlier,” Martin said. “It really wasn’t fair to the kids last year – we only lasted six games and then had to trade them all away. It’s not fair to them, and we wanted to avoid that this season.

In the absence of Spartans games, Martin said he was placing more emphasis on the development side of things in addition to the work being done to try to build a new rink.

The increased development of local talent, Martin said, will help improve the chances of Rogue Valley players getting the chance to play for the Spartans in the future.

“I only played one local kid for me,” said Martin, “and while I love bringing in Europeans and Canadians – and I always will – I would love to see that number of one pass to four. or five, six or seven local players.

If the Spartans end up having a stronger local presence the next time the team takes the ice, it could well come to the team’s new rink.

Martin hopes the addition of another sports facility, in the footsteps of US Cellular Community Park and the upcoming construction of a 160,000 square foot aquatic center – the Rogue Credit Union Community Complex – will be another piece of the puzzle for making Medford a destination. for major sporting events.

“There’s so much momentum with the construction of the football fields, the aquatics center is supposed to lead the way, so the (Southern Oregon Sports Commission) and the city, we feel like we want to make Medford the destination. western sportswoman, ”Martin mentioned. “To do that, you need the facilities to host these events and be the sports center of the West, so that’s what we’re working on right now.”

Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.

Following the cancellation of the 2021-22 season by the Southern Oregon Spartans, the RRRink decided not to renew their contract with the junior hockey club.


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