There’ll be no mistaking which rink belongs to the Nelson Leafs now.
The team’s proposal to install a back-lit sign that reads “Home of the Nelson Leafs” next to the ticket box at the Nelson and District Community Complex for a five-year period was approved by the Recreation Commission on Tuesday.
The final decision on the design, however, is still pending approval by the city’s planning department.
“We’ve been diligently working to re-establish the junior Leafs in the community. This is just one more step in our identity,” said Leafs president John Dooley.
Dooley said the signage will help better locate the Leafs not only within the NDCC but in the city as well.
“We’re a consistent draw in the building,” he said. “We average around 500 fans a game and in the playoffs around 800 or so. We’re a pretty important cog in getting people out and enjoying hockey and giving to the community, and the spinoff to the economy is there as well.”
There was debate during the commission’s meeting about setting a precedent for a non-profit group putting signage on a public building. Some directors were hesitant to give the Leafs permission and therefore open the door to other sign requests.
After the proposal was approved, Recreation Commission chair Valerie Warmington introduced another motion that was also passed asking for the study and implementation of sign-specific policy at the NDCC.
Nelson has bylaws regulation signage in the city, but Warmington said it was prudent to take a closer look at the complex.
“Everyone supports the Nelson Leafs. They’re an important part of the community and certainly help support the arena with the crowd they bring in,” said Warmington.
“What the debate was really about was stepping back from the recognition about the Leafs and to really look at the exterior signage in a very generic way and making some policy level decisions on what exterior signs should be, how many, all of those questions in advance of making a decision to support one coming forward.”
The sign is part of an agreement between the team and Glo-Tech Innovations, in which the Leafs supplies Gl0-Tech with an arena board advertisement in exchange for the sign. The team already pays the Regional District of Central Kootenay a portion of its revenue from rink ads.
The Leafs would also be responsible for all costs and maintenance of the sign.