The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 8, 2013

Arena starts program for ice vouchers

Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — Ice time at the Cambria County War Memorial averages $200 per hour.

The price, although appropriate for the Johnstown market, can be tough for youth hockey teams to afford, especially in hard economic times.

But the arena’s acting general manager, Tom Grenell, has a plan to help offset the cost. The facility is now offering parents, coaches and supporters the chance to volunteer their time during events. In turn, they can acquire vouchers good for free ice time.

“I’m trying to get more kids to play hockey. ... We need to get hockey back to where it’s affordable,” said Grenell. He added, “It would be an opportunity for parents to stretch their dollars as far as they can go.”

The voucher program is part of an ongoing effort to help expand use of the War Memorial and cut costs.

Grenell explained: “We have to be very, very, very responsible with our taxpayers’ dollars. This is just another way we can do it.”

Volunteers will work side-by-side with regular employees.

“We have not laid off any persons (because of the program),” Grenell said. “No job has been eliminated.”

Arena workers may also receive the chance to perform multiple tasks now, as opposed to being locked into a singular role as an usher, snack shop operator, Zamboni driver, etc. “We need to stop thinking compartmentally,” Grenell said.

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