State of Skate

February 2020

Greetings Skaters,

An update is long overdue, both for new activities at our rink and with the Showgrounds seeking new business investment. While a bit long, this note encompasses months of past discussions with the Showgrounds, and what is likely to happen in our future.

New Activities at the Rink

In addition to Roller Hockey, Roller Derby continues, as does Box Lacrosse and now Jogal Futsal, 5-on-5 indoor soccer. Our rink provides a unique venue for these sports, while the rental income makes it possible for us to continue operations. We continue to look for additional uses, especially those that can use the rink midday, with Pickleball and Figure Skating now being considered.

Earl Warren Showgrounds

If you are not aware (search edhat.com), the Showgrounds have been in financial deficit the past few years. They recently hired a new CEO to effect a turnaround envisioning a multi-use community event center. An RFP was issued requesting proposals, with the sole responsive offering being for a Veterinary Center occupying the existing horse arenas to the South of our rink. The EW Board of Directors voted to investigate the feasibility of this proposal.

After further community input, the EW Board accepted a proposal from the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team to renovate portions of the horse show facility for the 2020 season. The goal is to restore a viable, ongoing horse show schedule that contributes positively to the financial bottom line. Unlike years past, we are in positive communications with representatives of the horse community, have received statements of support, and their proposed renovations specifically excluded our rink.

The Future

All the above is good, so why this note? Because getting the Showgrounds to a financially positive multi-use community event center is going to require more financial contribution from all existing tenants, including us. In effect, all need to become more income-driven, run more as a business, with rental agreements that provide “profit sharing” to the Showgrounds. We have already become more of a “Rink Sports Recreation” operation. Yet we run largely as a volunteer effort, and running an “income-driven non-profit” is beyond what most of the existing volunteer leadership can commit to.

And in comes Keith Severson, long-time hockey player, parent of a hockey player, and evangelist for “Earl Warren Arena Sports.” We met with the Showgrounds CEO, Keith has been involved, and is working on a business plan. We have an extension of our current rental terms through June 30, 2020 to present and gain approval for a vision forward. If you have ideas, time, and energy to contribute, you can reach Keith at keith@sbhockey.com and help shape our future.

Our hockey community is as unique as our venue - part club, part family - with friendships spanning decades, where players of all abilities are welcomed with a smile and encouraged to "skate on down and take the shot!" We won't lose sight of that as we embrace our future, seeking out partners that embrace those qualities.

See you at the Rink!

Kirk, Joan, Mike, Libby, and Keith

Your SBRH Leadership Team