Zoldan responds to media reports about Ice Zone closure

Staff report

BOARDMAN

Phantom Fireworks on Friday issued a statement regarding the closure of the Ice Zone, which is co-owned by Youngstown Phantoms owner Bruce Zoldan, after the building was sold.

“This is a sad day for Bruce Zoldan and the management team at the Ice Zone in Boardman. After 20 years, Mr. Zoldan and the team have closed operations of the Ice Zone Ltd., and the new owners of the building will be operating an ice-skating facility under a new name,” the statement reads.

The Vindicator reported this week the owners of Extreme Air, a trampoline company that shares a building with the ice rink, would buy the building after exercising the lease-to-buy option in their contract with the Ice Zone.

Reached by The Vindicator on Wednesday, Zoldan said, “I have no comment. I have no idea what’s going on.” But the latest statement Friday said, “Mr. Zoldan and the operating team had every reason to believe that they would continue to operate the Ice Zone under a lease with the new building owners.”

Extreme Air owner Matt MacGregor said he wanted the Ice Zone to stay, but the Zoldan operation had asked for certain terms in a lease agreement to which his company would not agree.

The Zoldan statement countered with: “We believe that the new ownership group made commercially unreasonable demands in the lease negotiations and negotiated in bad faith.”

The statement also refers to a comment by a Youngstown Phantoms Youth Hockey Association coach who told The Vindicator the change in ownership was a positive thing. Local hockey and skating organizations said they were unhappy with the way the Ice Zone departed the premises, taking equipment and turning up compressors to melt the ice.

“This gentleman obviously did not understand that Mr. Zoldan personally underwrote losses at the Ice Zone of approximately $400,000 annually,” the statement reads.

“Before Mr. Zoldan is vilified by the new owners of the building or the community, consideration should be given to the millions of dollars Mr. Zoldan paid out over 20 years to support the operations of the Ice Zone for the community,” it continued.

Meanwhile, the Boardman Police Department investigated Friday afternoon when they were called about 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of freon being gone from a tank at the facility. The facility’s new operators discovered the issue when they tried to use the freon to re-freeze the ice.

Sgt. Paul Grimes said it’s not known whether the freon was removed in a tanker truck or went somewhere else, but the police department contacted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency as a precaution because it is believed that a permit would be needed to “reclaim” that amount of freon.

A spokesman at Boardman Fire Department said the department was not contacted about the matter.

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