Unless investors can be found, the Renegades will likely fold at the end of the season.
The economy is probably going to impact the SPHL hard. It's hard to imagine the Cyclones staying afloat in Winston-Salem (relocate to Augusta?). There is also continued talk of a team in Pensacola for 2010. Greenville? It's going to be tough attracting investors...
The Richmond Renegades today announced that they are ceasing hockey operations in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) effective immediately.
I have delayed making this announcement for as long as possible while my investors and I looked at every possible alternative, stated team President/GM, Allan B. Harvie, Jr. Like so many other companies, we are the victim of the current harsh economic conditions. I am saddened beyond words for my team, my staff and especially my loyal Renegades fans. There isnt a financial stone that my business partners and I have left unturned, a phone call that we havent made, a favor that we havent called trying to find a way to continue operations. There just simply isnt the money available to make up the $280,000+ shortfall we will experience in order to continue operations. I am so very saddened making this announcement because, outside of my family, hockey and the Renegades are my life.
The Renegades originally began operations in 1990 in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and played until 2003 when the Riverdogs became the resident professional team playing in the UHL. Harvie returned with the Renegades in 2006 after the Riverdogs discontinued play.
Harvie stated the Renegades have started to refund all season and playoff ticket deposits and they expect to have that finished by March 31st. He said the teams offices in the Coliseum will remain open until around April 4th and he is asking fans to pick up items they won in recent auctions as soon as possible. The Renegades offices will also be open this Saturday, March 28th, from 9:30 am until noon. Fans can gain entry into the Coliseum only through the East Leigh Street entrance.
We still have until April 30th to sign an extension with the Coliseum but I, and my financial partners, have exhausted every avenue we know in an attempt to raise the necessary money. If someone were to walk in with $300,000, we would be back in business but the chances of that happening are one in a million, Harvie continued. I sincerely thank our fantastic booster club and fans, who are truly the greatest fans in hockey, for their support. Coach Goudie, Tracy Hynes and Brian Nevetral will be sorely missed as their contributions and dedication to hockey in Richmond were seemingly endless. To the interns and volunteers who have spent countless hours working with us I say a heartfelt thank you because without you our work would have been so much harder.
Harvie noted that the team will be hosting a sale in the immediate future that would include new and used hockey equipment, sticks, memorabilia and office equipment. The date and time of the sale will be posted on the team website, http://www.rrenegades.com.
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The SportsQuest arena in nearby Chesterfield opening up in 2011 (they own the IFL's Richmond Revolution) could be a viable spot...we'll just have to wait and see.