After Olympic gymnasts and skaters perform in the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena on Saturday, Dec. 14, what is next for the Third Street attraction?
Ongoing discussions are continuing for the possible return of the Jamestown Ironmen. Kurt Silcott, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena chief executive officer, said he has been talking to the owner, Kenji Yamada, of the Jamestown Ironmen about their possible return. When it was announced in June by Yamada the team would suspend operations for the 2013-14 season, he said he would be looking forward to the Jamestown Ironmen coming back to the ice for the 2014-15 season.
"(Yamada) is trying to get together some partners to get the team back, and we are hopeful," Silcott said. "It was unfortunate the timing when he decided to pull back. It was starting to catch on. People were getting behind having a local team. Hopefully he will return, but there is nothing concrete. We've had discussions with him, but don't know at this point."
Musical acts, such as Boyz II Men in June 2012, have brought some of the biggest crowds to the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
P-J file photo
Silcott said there is also a group working behind the scenes to find a team for the 2014-15 hockey season.
"It is a local group that is looking to do hockey at the arena," he said. "They're talking, they're meeting and working quietly to bring a team in, and we have that potentially."
Confirmed hockey events include a hockey tournament in the New Year. The Labatt Blue Winter Boozer Adult Hockey Tournament will be held Jan. 17-19. Another local tournament will be the Jamestown Lakers/Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association's Mid-Winter Classic held on Presidents Day Weekend, Feb. 15-17.
"Ice programming and skating is our primary business, but we think of ourselves as a lot more."
For those who prefer the fine eloquence of figure skating over hockey, the arena has the Jamestown Skating Club. Silcott said arena officials are working with the Jamestown Skating Club to boost the program and to get more children involved.
"They are starting to do new things to promote themselves. At the start of the New Year, there will be an opportunity to skate with them and learn to be a figure skater," he said. "We are trying to help them, we want young kids skating and seeing how fun it is."
One entertainment avenue the arena is trying to expand into is the realm of comedy. A special Friday night comedy show called the Wits n' Giggles Stand-Up Comedy Series has been ongoing. Silcott said comedy acts started happening at the arena after talking with Justin Lindell, the owner of The Q.
"(Lindell's) place wasn't aligned right for it. It didn't have a stage and the seating. We talked with him about it, and we started coordinating with him," Silcott said. "It is something we're working at. We have to tweak it to find when comedy will work the best for people. We have 110 seats, and the first year we had a lot of success. The second year, we had some full dates, but every once in awhile we didn't."
Silcott said the comedy series will start again after the New Year with an eight- to 10-week schedule.
Music concerts will be coming to the arena next year. Silcott said there are several bids out for known acts to possibly perform in March. He said the outdoor patio summer concert series will also be held again this summer starting in June.
"There is a lot of things going on, but we don't have the dates yet," he said.
A new marketing strategy is also helping to draw more entertainment. Silcott said they are trying to market the arena without using the word "ice."
"Well it was misleading to some folks who thought we were only an ice arena, but we do more than that," he said. "We have banquet rooms, Sully's (Irish Pub), a golf simulator and so much more."
Silcott said, locally, people know about the off-ice attractions, but regionally and nationally, people would write the facility off for certain events.
"Ice programming and skating is our primary business, but we think of ourselves as a lot more," he said. "Since taking the word 'ice' off we've had more contacts from people for things like lacrosse leagues and, this past weekend, we had a soccer showcase. Local kids were able to show off their skills to college coaches to look at. Soccer schools were here to give our local kids scholarships to college. This is why we don't use ice all the time."