The Olympic Regional Development Authority was recently approached by Pat Kelly — a two-time Olympic speed skater who owns Peak Edge Performance Inc., a sports consulting company — who offered to take over operations of the Olympic Speed skating Oval and requested to lease the venue during the winter months for the next four years.
Kelly’s request has led to several letters to the editor supporting his effort amidst rumors that the Oval under ORDA’s direction, will cut back hours and not be as available to the public.
ORDA came back to Kelly with an offer for him to run the oval two days of the week, Tuesday and Wednesday — one that he flatly rejected.
Kelly had presented ORDA with a detailed plan for his management of the oval complete with a means to keep the venue open longer for public skating. He appears to have sufficient background to effectively manage the oval. He’s has plenty of business and engineering experience and because of his skating background, a superior knowledge of the wants and needs of the skating community.
Although his plan was unsolicited, Kelly thought ORDA’s counter offer was unfair and he expected to get at least a one year lease.
But it’s unreasonable to expect ORDA to give up the reins of a venue they have run for decades — even to a man with a plan. There aren’t many businesses that would give up such control entirely without first seeing results.
ORDA has said that an initial arrangement could lead to a lengthier offer to Kelly. ORDA also said there are currently no plans to curtail hours of operation, as the venue is a money-maker for the agency.
Kelly should have considered ORDA’s counter offer as a “foot in the door” that could lead to a bigger role in running the oval.
Perhaps it’s not too late and Mr. Kelly will reconsider accepting ORDA’s counter offer — it’ll at least provide him a chance to show he really knows his stuff. If he makes what he perceives to be the slowest days of the week into productive days, it could be a Miracle for the Ice. Then, hopefully both sides can work out an agreement that will allow the Olympic Oval to continue to flourish — for the benefit of both locals and visitors alike.