If the Queen Mary, an aquarium and flourishing night life don't bring tourists to Long Beach, the Ice Dogs will, the city's elected officials decided this week.
The professional ice hockey team, expected to be sold today for an estimated $5 million to television producer Barry Kemp, will relocate to the Long Beach Sports Arena after only one season in Los Angeles, Kemp and city officials have agreed.
Banking that the Dogs' national television exposure will provide a vital boost to tourism in the city, City Council members pledged more than $3 million in arena improvements and promotions to lure the team.
"We'll help to promote the Ice Dogs and they'll help to promote the city," Councilman Jerry Shultz said.
Kemp, producer of the television show "Coach," said he appreciated the council's confidence. In return, he said, he plans to keep the team in Long Beach.
"Like any new business, we expect to lose money for awhile, so we're not going into this blindly," Kemp said.
In the meantime, the city has a lot of work to do. The new agreement spells out renovations to the arena, a normally idle part of the city's convention center. The city agreed to pay for new seats, a new ice floor and a replay-capable scoreboard.
"We feel it's a good investment because we have to do that anyway for the arena," Councilman Alan Lowenthal said.