The Eagle River Recreation Association (ERRA) board of directors is currently in turmoil as it tries to figure out its legal standing on contracts involving the Eagle River Falcons and the Wisconsin Windigo hockey teams.

It appears the organization signed a contract giving “first scheduling priority” to the Wisconsin Windigo juniors team despite an existing contract with the Falcons, which is a legal issue that needs resolution.

Any way you look at it, in the end it will take some compromise from all parties involved to keep hockey whole and moving progressively at the Dome — home of the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame.

And so far, compromise has been limited by a lack of communication, untimely responses and a generally contentious atmosphere. The result has been small scheduling adjustments that still aren’t final.

If the hockey tradition is going to remain healthy in Wisconsin’s Hockey Capital, it’s time for a decision from the ERRA board on what contract it will honor and what compromises it will extend to whatever party gets the shorter end of the deal.

Before any more days and weeks pass with the season right around the corner, these teams need to know their exact schedule including game times. Indecision and guessing leaves everyone in a bad spot.

Of course the compromises won’t be perfect in this first year of double-header hockey on some Friday and Saturday nights in Eagle River, which will prompt future negotiation and adjustments. They need to favor the Windigo team for the simple reason that it’s new, unproven and attempting to make a go at bringing top-notch hockey to Eagle River.

Instead of focusing on contracts, attorneys and legal remedies, the ERRA board needs to do what should have been done months ago — sit down with both sides and hammer out a schedule the teams can live with this first year. David Rowe, managing partner of the Copper Island Hockey Club LLC, has made numerous attempts to negotiate adjustments with the Falcons.

There’s no time left for posturing and grandstanding. We need some decisions because the hockey season is here. That should be the board’s focus — hockey.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

  Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Michelle Drew and reporter Doug Etten.