Looks to take Hockey and Entertainment to Next Level
(Flint, MICH. – December 9) IMS USA, Inc. of Cape Coral, Florida announced today their plans for a $2 million - $3 million investment in Flint’s Perani Arena & Event Center and Clayton Township Iceland arena. The company also announced their efforts to court the United States Hockey League (USHL) to bring a Tier 1 junior hockey team to Flint to revive hockey in Genesee County.
Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce thinks IMS’s planned investment in Flint is terrific news.
“Perani has a storied history and it’s exciting to think about the investment and leadership that is being planned,” said Herman. “The proposed changes have the potential to take the arena to the next level to become a major sports and entertainment venue.”
IMS is described on its website as “the world's leading manufacturer of sliding watertight doors and high tech industrial products for the shipping and offshore industries.” The company’s technical director, Captain Rolf Nilsen, a native of Norway, has been directly involved in hockey for several years. He sees Genesee County as a community that has the potential to stand at the fore of hockey in the United States. “I want to bring in top-level hockey to the area,” says Nilsen. “It’s a good thing for hockey fans and a good thing for Flint and Genesee County.”
To help usher in Tier 1 hockey, Nilsen vetted veteran hockey executive, Costa Papista. Papista, who serves as President of IMS USA, Inc., states that the investment in Perani and Iceland arenas will “enhance hockey for the 2015-16 season. This will include more uses and programming for both Iceland and Perani. The goal is to grow youth hockey and bring more events and tournaments to both facilities.”
At present, the current Flint Warriors of the North American Hockey League will finish out their season with owner Pat McEachern and coach /GM and co-owner Moe Mantha. The transition and initial investment will leave Perani with a $2 million operational budget. Immediate renovations will include structural repairs, cosmetic changes to the building and its signage off Interstate I-69, and updates to the front office facilities and players’ and coaches spaces.
Papista says the new team will require “a minimum of eight full-time employees,” and the renovation effort has the potential to employ several dozen Genesee County residents.