An issue that probably goes unspoken -- or at least discussed behind each other's backs -- has become a hotly debated topic in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, Minn. Who deserves the prime ice time at the local skating arena: hockey players or figure skaters?
The local city council must settle a dispute between Braemar City of Lakes Figure Skating Club and Edina Hockey Association over the availability of three rinks at Braemar Arena, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report entitled, "Edina deals with skating spat."
According to the report, the city is reneging on a handshake agreement made just last year by urging the nationally renowned figure skating club -- reported producers of 60 national champions -- to cough up some of its prime skating time to the hockey players.
“I feel like we’ve been blindsided,” Braemar City of Lakes Figure Skating Club co-vice president Rosalind Wright told the Star Tribune. “I really feel like we’re being bullied here. We have no voice, and it’s all about hockey.”
Wright explained that the proposed decline in ice time would reportedly cut the practice time of a synchronized skating team that has won four junior national titles in five years.
The hockey side's argument: A greater number and percentage of people from the suburb play in the Edina Hockey Association (99 percent of 1,323 members) than participate in the figure skating club (48 percent of 196 members), per the report.
“We’re 99 percent Edina residents,” EHA president Ron Green told the Star Tribune. “We want [Braemar] to be our home rink. If you look at (figure skating) hours, it’s all prime time stuff. … This has sparked a conversation that’s probably long overdue.”
Here's the real rub: The figure skating club reached an agreement with the city to pay $20 annually per member for the next 20 years in order to pay for the arena's new hockey dressing rooms -- or roughly $80,000 -- according to the report.
It's a delicate issue, for sure, especially considering the sensitivity required in dealing with matters of gender equality for typically male vs. female sports. In either case, the city will have to face a whole lot of angry residents armed with skates.