The War Memorial’s Silva is thinking along the same lines. The financial obstacles are present throughout professional hockey. For more than a decade, the Chiefs dealt with annual rumors that “this will be the final season,” borrowing a page out of “Slap Shot.”
“The Chiefs are a great example. The aftermaths of the Chiefs are a great example,” Silva said.
“The Chiefs sold tickets. They had a loyal fan base. But they exhausted nearly every possible source of corporate advertising in town, and they still couldn’t make enough money to run under the ECHL collective bargaining and the (ECHL) business model. And it’s not just the Chiefs. The ECHL, the AHL are just as bad.
“There are other professional leagues out there that have better business models but the ones that are out there right now are new. They don’t have truly proven track records. That’s something to take into account. We don’t want to make a deal with a team and then have to start the process over again because they fold. We’re looking for the strength of the product and the strength of the league.”
If a match isn’t soon found, the arena might have to rely on local hockey, concerts, football, bull riding and other events to fill seats.
“It’s a hockey building,” Silva said. “There’s no doubt about that. We want to keep hockey in the building but it’s got to be a good fit for everyone. I’m not just going to take the first offer and say, ‘Look, I provided hockey.’”