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Mayor who called out Kingston fans stepping down

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Consider this a final post-script to a mildly sordid saga: Harvey Rosen, the mayor who oversaw the construction of the K-Rock Centre, which is more than half-empty most of the time when the Kingston Frontenacs are playing, is resigning.

Rosen delivered with a new arena for owner Doug Springer's Frontenacs, but the new building bump that was promised has never showed itself, either in the stands or OHL standings (Kingston, which last won a playoff series in 1998, was 12th overall in the 20-team OHL this season after missing the playoffs two previous seasons).

The revenue projections when the Krock Pot opened in 2008 was based on the Frontenacs averaging 3,500 fans per game for 34 regular-season dates and 4,500 for four home playoff games.

The Frontenacs have not come close on either count in their first two full seasons in their new digs (the initial targets have been revised downward). The all-star game in February drew a sparser crowd than some early-season MLB games in Toronto. It took the Frontenacs until Game 7 of a first-round loss to Brampton to crack the 4,500 mark in the post-season. They drew 5,133 to the series decider on March 30.

It is not as if the arena was all bad (A-list acts now come to town; they're lining up for Elton John tickets in Kingston as I type this while wearing a T-shirt bought at a Neil Young concert at the Krock Pot last summer).

However, that turnout proved Rosen and his cohorts wrong twice over with regard to the Frontenacs and their market. The first count was ever believing the Frontenacs could hit those attendance goals when, as Bob Duff observed, "Kingston fans don't care for owner Doug Springer, displaying their displeasure by avoiding the box office."

The second was that drawing 5,133 fans, even if citing one game is very small sample sizey, disproved Rosen's earlier inference that true fans blindly throw good money at a bad team ("Kingston likes to pride itself on being a hockey city. I wonder"). That turnout, along with two sellouts at the Krock Pot in December 2008 for world junior exhibition games, suggests there is a good hockey fanbase in Kingston.

It is just appears to be dubious of the organization. A good politician, which Rosen certainly is, could never say as much.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. You may contact him at neatesager[at]yahoo[dot]ca.

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