Hitmen Get OK To Play This Weekend At Arena

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Hitmen get OK to play this weekend at arena

The Chicago Hitmen playoff games will be played at the Fox Valley Ice Arena this weekend thanks to a short-term agreement that was reached Thursday after both sides appeared in court in a contract dispute.

The Chicago Hitmen and Centrum East-West Arenas Venture, the company that manages the ice area owned by the Kane County Forest Preserve, are embroiled in a lawsuit. The Hitmen allege the management company is wrongfully denying their two junior teams access to the ice for practices and games at the arena at 1996 Kirk Road, Geneva.

Kane County Circuit Judge Thomas Mueller ruled against the Hitmen’s claim based on the terminology their lawyer used in the filing. Mueller allowed Hitmen attorney Peter Storm to refile the complaint using different wording.

The lawsuit claimed that Centrum East-West Arenas Venture violated its contract to provide marketing and public relations support and its share of concession sales during games, among other terms.

Centrum attorney Timothy Weilandt, who is also a part owner of the management company, said the hockey team owes the management company $116,250. Hitmen owner Mark Hammersmith denied the hockey team owes the management company any more money. The team has paid the management company $100,000, according to court filings.

But another aggravating factor is the North American Hockey League sent the Hitmen a letter taking them out of the league because its two teams cannot complete their scheduled games if they have no access to the ice, Storm said.

North American Hockey League spokesman Alex Kyrias said the higher-tier Hitmen team already has been eliminated from the playoffs. But the lower-tier team, which plays in the 3HL, is scheduled to host the playoffs in Geneva and play its first round this weekend.

“This is a disagreement between the facility and the club,” the North American league said in a statement. “They are currently working through those differences, and we expect it to be resolved. Both Chicago Hitmen clubs in the NAHL and 3HL have guaranteed to operate for the 2012-13 season.” The season begins in September.

The short-term agreement allows the team to play this weekend in Geneva, but Ken Oda, Hitmen spokesman, said they could play at another rink in West Dundee.

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