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Moose staying at Metro Centre

This time, there was no drama for the Halifax Mooseheads and Trade Centre Ltd.

This time, there was no drama for the Halifax Mooseheads and Trade Centre Ltd.

The Mooseheads announced yesterday a new five-year agreement plus an additional one-year option with Trade Centre Ltd. that will keep the 16-year-old franchise at the Metro Centre through at least the 2014-15 season.

Mooseheads majority owner Bobby Smith and TCL president and CEO Scott Ferguson were all smiles at a press conference yesterday, leaving behind a debacle that occurred in 2004 when the two sides struck their last agreement.

Negotiations between the Mooseheads and TCL were a little more rocky the last time around, when Smith stunned the city by signing a five-year agreement to move the team to the north-end Forum. A day later, TCL tabled an offer more favourable to the Mooseheads and Smith abandoned his plan to move to the Forum.

“It speaks to the relationship we’ve built — on all levels — between Trade Centre and the hockey team over the past couple of years,” said Smith, whose previous deal expired on Feb. 27.

Smith said he first met with Ferguson in December 2008 to start hammering out the new lease agreement. Ferguson had taken over for Fred MacGillivray, who negotiated the previous deal with Smith.

“It went a lot more smoothly,” said Smith, who resides in Arizona. “Every time I was in town, Scott and I would sit down for an hour and look at the implications of things that were important to him and important to us.”

Added Ferguson: “It’s a lot of water under the bridge.”

Ferguson said negotiations broke down last time because it was “more of a rushed process” between two “organizations that hadn’t worked together a lot.”

“It was jumping into the deep end,” he said. “Sometimes when you do that, you end up in a spot you don’t want to end up in.”

Neither side would say much about the details of a 30-page document containing the lease details. Smith said it’s “not just a financial agreement.”

“We’ve made adjustments up and down in all areas,” Smith said. “The most important thing is, we think it’s a fair agreement that allows both sides to be successful.”

More practice
Although details of the Mooseheads’ new lease agreement with Trade Centre Ltd. were not released in much detail, a slight increase in practice time is one stipulation of the new pact. The Mooseheads will now have daily one-hour, 45-minute practice slots. They previously had an hour to an hour-and-a-half. “This is enough time for our (coaching staff) to do extra work with the goalies, work on faceoffs, and other little things,” said Mooseheads owner Bobby Smith. “We’ve talked about it (with the coaching staff) at various times and thought it was important.”