Dukla Trenčín ice hockey players and bosses were supposed to celebrate the team’s 50th season in the Premier Ice Hockey League this year but representatives of the club are instead busy preparing a lawsuit in response to a decision made by Trenčín Mayor Richard Rybníček to cancel their stadium rental contract.
The team on Wednesday, July 13, received support from world-famous players who grew up in Trenčín, such as Marián Hossa and his brother Marcel, Pavol Demitra, Tomáš Kopecky and Branko Radivojevič. Dukla has found itself in financial difficulties ever since the beginning of this year after the local authority decided to cut funding for its stadium operation. In the past week the City of Trenčín has cancelled the contract on stadium rental, and plans to run the stadium by itself, with Dukla's only option being to continue as a tenant. Dukla representatives are opposed to the decision, however, as Mayor Rybníček cancelled the contract without any proposal on their future co-operation. Originally, the contract was supposed to be valid until December 31, 2013.
"Richard Rybníček unilaterally abolished this contract, without any prior talks with the hockey club management or consent from municipal authorities, an act which we deem inappropriate," Dukla Trenčín managing board member František Hossa told the TASR newswire. "We won't let them take hockey from us or give up the stadium, and have authorised our lawyer to seek legal action, instead. If Mr. Mayor doesn't launch serious negotiations with the hockey club, we are determined to use the institute of direct democracy and initiate a plebiscite on dismissing the mayor."
Rybníček said that he won't be blackmailed by the ice hockey players. "Let them press charges," he responded, as quoted by TASR. As the club hasn't given up the stadium, a three-month notice period has begun. In the worst-case scenario, Dukla Trenčín might cease to exist if no agreement is reached.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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14. Jul 2011 at 10:00