View Full Version : Cincinnati and Columbus cease operations in the ECHL
04-08-2004, 07:01 AM
Word came down late last night that Cincinnati and Columbus have entered a voluntary suspension of their clubs. The Columbus team will move to Bradenton/Sarasota Florida next season. The Clones will fade off into memories. The only new club will be located in British Columbia which is really the old Baton Rouge Kingfish team. No other team moves were listed. The ECHL according to my press release will go with 30 teams next seasonr.
04-08-2004, 10:18 AM
Although it wouldn't seem to be economical, I wonder if either the WHA2 or SEHL might make a bid for Columbus, assuming one or both leagues survive. As for the ECHL, certainly several more teams lost money, but sometimes it's hard to admit failure. If next season doesn't see turnaround for those teams that didn't reach 3,000 average attendance, I think you'll see more teams leaving the fold.
04-09-2004, 12:09 PM
Columbus ECHL franchise will become the Bradenton/Sarasota team in 2005-06. The Cottonmouths name will probably go to a SEHL/WHA2/EHL (the rumored merger of the NEHL, SEHL, WHA2, etc.) team.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, tried to call Anaheim's bluff regarding their AHL affiliateship, but the ECHL stepped in and forced them to suspend operations. We'll have the waiting game of what Anaheim intends to do and if/when and where the Cyclones will re-emerge, whether they will buy out the AHL team, stay with the ECHL, or jump to the CHL or UHL. It's going to be a long summer for us :cry:
04-09-2004, 12:52 PM
The only way the WHA2 and SEHL will merge is if men with large egos are willing to swallow some pride and do what logic and common sense dictate. (Actually, considering the financial bath both leagues took, the logical thing to do is to shut them down and concentrate on preventing more teams in the ECHL and UHL from going under.) If the owners want to field teams, the two little (in number of teams) leagues should merge and hold out a carrot stick to some other teams in the ECHL that continue to lose money. Then, with solid, hands-on management of finances and personnel, begin to build fan bases by smart marketing and promotion, never promising more than can be delivered, but always delivering what is promised.
And dump those cities that are now chronic nightmares like Winston-Salem, Miami and Lakeland. Go with Macon and Columbus in the same league; Augusta is nearing its run in the ECHL, so make a move now. In fact, no state in the south should have teams in more than one minor league. I believe rivalries in AA hockey are overplayed, simply because the players move so frequently. More often than not, the only similarity between a team's players today and two or three years ago will be the name. But at least the competition is there, and this is an important consideration. It's foolish to have two teams like Columbus and Macon, 90 miles apart, play in different leagues. Huntsville and Pelham in Alabama is another example. Just a little common sense and business smarts, and maybe, just maybe, the two upstart leagues can make some lemonade out of the lemons.
04-09-2004, 04:11 PM
I was reading the Orlando Paper today and the Seals owe the city a Lot of money over $100.000 for taxes, rent etc. Looks like the league also released some front office folks as well to cut down on payroll. Miami is said to be sold, but nothing on paper yet. Lakeland is not making payroll and after 3 tries one would think that placing a team in a city that has never made it over a year would not be a good place to drop a lot of money. I can not see Jim Riggs of the SEHL or Dave Waronker even having a cup of coffee together to discuss anything. Both egos are too big to discuss or admit that their leagues are in bad trouble and talks about a merge would indicate that that is true. Sort of like the my dad is stronger than your dad situation. The UHL out of pure stupidity is adding another team next year. When will folks realize that a sports team is not a Toy to play with until your tired of it?
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