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The NHL has formed a partnership with Family Ice Enterprises, LLC, an affiliate of Mentmore Holdings Company, on the development and construction of NHL Skate ice and in- line hockey facilities. Family Ice Enterprises will have the exclusive right to develop NHL-themed ice and in-line facilities and entertainment centers in the U.S. Mentmore Vice Chair William Remley said construction of the first rinks will begin this spring, with plans to develop more than 100 rinks across the country. The first two sites targeted for the development include Exeter, NH, and St. John, IN. Plans for NHL Skate include two regulation-sized ice sheets with combined seating for 1,000 spectators, eight NHL-themed locker rooms, an NHL FANtasy zone, a food court and retail component. Each facility will include programs for youths, adults, public skating, instructional programs and various NHL-themed events. The league has named Mighty Ducks G Guy Hebert and U.S. women's gold medal winner Karyn Bye as spokespeople for the facilities. Two NHL Skate facilities currently operate under separate owners. The first opened in Birch Run, MI, in '97 and was developed via a licensing agreement with Signature Sports. A facility in Danbury, CT, expected to open this fall, is being developed by Arc (NHL). MORE ICE, ICE, BABY: The facilities are expected to cost between $6-7M each and NHL Senior VP Steve Solomon said that Family Ice and the league will work together on potential sites: "We have certain hockey knowledge. They have certain real estate knowledge. In the final analysis, I think we'll mutually agree on sites." Solomon said he was "hopeful we can get at least 10 [complexes] done in the next couple of years. And from that, we'll be able to see how fast we can move to the next level" (Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, 5/19). FRIENDS, NOT RIVALS: NHL Enterprises currently has a relationship with another Mentmore affiliate, Rival Sports, the company backed by the Red Wings' Brendan Shanahan, which designs and markets hockey branded apparel (NHL).
The PGA of America has made a three-year, $6M commitment to The First Tee initiative and will provide additional resources for the planning and development of First Tee facilities and curriculum. The PGA's financial commitment includes $1M annually for three years to help fund The First Tee, plus $1M annually for three years for a PGA Section grant program to apply directly to initiatives (PGA). HALL OF FAME: The World Golf Village opened yesterday, with a Hall of Fame ceremony honoring Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller. More than 3,000 spectators watched as 25 of the 37 living Hall of Famers attended. In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette called the event "reminiscent of the recent Academy Awards when nearly every living Oscar-winning actor and actress showed up." One HOFer missing was Jack Nicklaus. World Golf Village Exec Dir Ruffin Beckwith: "I think a lot of people were surprised that Jack wasn't here" (FL TIMES- UNION, 5/19). In Ft. Lauderdale, Randall Mell writes that the Golf Village is "Disney-esque in its ambitious, all- encompassing scope. The architects of this grand design aimed to include every possible aspect of golf" (SUN- SENTINEL, 5/19). In Detroit, Vartan Kupelian writes under the header "World Golf Village Is A State-of-the-Art Paradise." PGA Tour Commissioner/World Golf Foundation Chair Tim Finchem: "This will be a living, breathing, changing, evolving facility. From the moment we open the doors, we'll intrigue golfers of all levels" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/19). In N.Y., Clifton Brown writes that it is "clear that the complex was designed not only to celebrate golf's history, but to attract a new generation of fans heading into the next century" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/19). The LPGA, which has never had a structure for its Hall of Fame, is combined with the men at the World Golf Village (USA TODAY, 5/19).