Thank You, Renegades Fans
Yesterday, as I, along with Tracy Hynes, Brian Nevetral, Andrew Dvorak and our young intern Ashley, watched the hundreds of fans stream through the Leigh Street doors of the Coliseum for our sale it really hit us. We were finished. Barring some 11th hour miracle, the Renegades had played their last game in Richmond. Starting today we would clean up the offices and begin packing boxes for what would be our final week at the Coliseum.
It was a sad day and has been a very sad week. We all have tried to put on a strong appearance but beneath it all we are hurting. That same hurt and sadness was very apparent on the faces and in the statements of the fans at the sale. Some tears were shed; some hugs exchanged. We all wished there was a way for us to keep Renegades going. Eventually we must accept the fate that this wretched economy has handed us and go forward. It just will not be easy. But I can't go forward without looking back at all the people who made the Renegades and Richmond hockey the success story it is.
My thoughts and sincere thanks primarily go out to you, the fans, who have been with us through the good times and bad. Some of you started with me in 1990 and have cheered Richmond hockey for 19 years. Still other fans only recently have become converts to our great sport. Regardless of your longevity as a Richmond hockey fan, I simply cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for hockey. Without you, your cheers and jeers, your screams and tears, your support with your wallet and in many other ways, we would not have made it through one year. I shall never forget you and your dedication to your Renegades.
To our sponsors, the backbone of the business side of the Renegades, I send you my sincere appreciation for your financial and moral support over the years. Despite taking a hit in this economy you stayed true to your Renegades and I extend my sincere and personal gratitude to you for staying the course.
To the many fine young men who came to Richmond to play hockey and became members of the Richmond Renegades, I extend my hand in appreciation of the fun and enjoyment you provided to our fans not only in Richmond but also all over the country and, indeed, the world via the internet. Win, lose or draw you were always fantastic ambassadors for this great game and for the city of Richmond.
To Tracy, Brian, Coach Goudie, Andrew, Rick, Barbara and Pattie I cannot find words that would adequately express my appreciation for all you have done through the years. Your "above and beyond" attitude and unwavering dedication is very rarely found in today's business world. Words fail me in my attempts to thank you. Just know that each of you were instrumental in making the Renegades a success. Without you, it would not have happened.
I would be remiss in not singling out Mike Levay, Bill Woodson, Dr. Bill Nordt, Dr. Steve Melhorn and Dennis Spurrier who have spent every winter for 19 years working with and supporting hockey in Richmond. They placed their family lives on hold every hockey season for 19 years. Thank you for every minute gentlemen!
To our countless off-ice officials, volunteers, interns, mascots and mini-mascots I am in constant amazement at your hard work on behalf of the team you love. Most fans don't know how hard you work but you are the unsung heroes of our sport and I thank you for every minute you devoted to your team. Plus I must extend thanks to our media and in particular, John Packett for the coverage of hockey. We would always like more but in this age of increasing costs and decreasing staffs in both the print and electronic media, you were all there to cover as much as you were able.
My thoughts and sincere appreciation are now directed to Dolly Vogt, Coliseum GM and her staff who have gone out of their way repeatedly to provide the best ice, facility, concessions and services they can to our team and fans. Their efforts behind the scenes to make hockey happen has seen them working through the night on many occasions. Dolly's financial efforts to try and save the team won't make the news but they sure helped the team. They are as disappointed at losing their Renegades as we all are. Thank you Coliseum staff.
To my peers and colleagues at the SPHL it has been a great pleasure being a part of this well founded and forward thinking league. Your dedication to our sport is what made me want to be a part of the SPHL. Your assistance over the past months confirmed that you were indeed, true friends and partners in our sport.
Although the names John and Miyuki Edwards, Tim and Deb Riley, Mark and Trish Newell, Scott and Christy VanLue and Dan Putnam may not mean much to most of our fans, they are my very good friends first and the investors without whom this edition of the Renegades would not have happened. They all have a heavy heart at the loss of our team not for the financial loss but because they are great fans. Thank you my friends.
The Richmond Renegades Booster Club has always been supporters of the players and a thank you to them just doesn't seem enough. There isn't a finer group of fans anywhere and we knew they would always be there to support the players. You will be missed.
As she has for over 29 years, my wife Donna has always been my pillar of strength and my source of reasoning when I have hard decisions. Most fans haven't had the pleasure of meeting her but those who have are struck by her charm and grace. To say thank you for your support for both editions of the Renegades and everything in between doesn't begin to scratch the surface of what you have contributed. But thank you Donna. I love you.
As I stated at the beginning, without some last minute reprieve we will not have hockey in Richmond next season for the first time in 20 years. As bitterly disappointing as that may be, I join the many other fans in reflecting on the great 19 years hockey was here. What will stay with me and make me smile at times when I may become saddened are the faces of excitement, appreciation and enjoyment of you, the fans. Young or old, rich or poor, fun at a hockey game knows no limit.
That's what has made it all worth while. Whether we have agreed on anything or everything I have done, we will always share the same passion; our love of hockey. Thank you my friends and everyone else for allowing me to share my dreams with you. Thank you for your support of hockey and our Renegades. Let's all hope that one day we can return to an arena in Richmond to cheer on our hockey team, scream at the referees and, most importantly, make new friends.
Allan B. Harvie, Jr.
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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from March 30, 2009
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- Thank You, Renegades Fans - Richmond Renegades
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