Orleans Arena and the Las Vegas Wranglers were unable to strike a deal to keep the hockey team playing at the off-Strip venue. (FOX5))
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
After calling the Orleans Arena home since the team's inception in 2003, the Las Vegas Wranglers are scrambling to secure a new venue for next season.
"The solution is not going to be simple," said Wranglers president Billy Johnson. "The timing of this has every possible place booked up."
In a meeting with Boyd Gaming, owners of the Orleans Arena, on Dec. 6, Johnson was told the team's lease with the arena would not be extended past the 2013-14 season.
"In that meeting, we were told it was 100-percent sure we would not be back," said Johnson.
Johnson asked for a one-year extension on the team's lease for time to search for a new sheet of ice.
"We were told that's not going to happen," said Johnson.
The reasoning for the end of the 11-year relationship is unclear from both sides of this hockey fight.
"Unfortunately, after several months of discussions, we have been unable to agree to terms for a renewal that would keep the team at the Arena after this season. We have greatly enjoyed our relationship with the Wranglers, and we wish them every success in the future," said Boyd Gaming in a statement to FOX5.
"It's their venue, and if we're not in their plans, we're not in their plans," said Johnson.
This year, the team's average attendance is above 4,500 per game, more than enough to keep the team viable in Las Vegas.
The Wranglers, made famous from promotions such as Dick Cheney Hunting Vest Night,will have to be extremely creative to find a solution.
The East Coast Hockey League has a deadline of Jan. 20 for the team to prove they have a new home, or the Wranglers will not be allowed to take the ice next season.
"If we have to play in 36 different places, we will. If we have to play in two different places 18 times, we will. If we have to find a place that can fit 2,500 seats and some ice, we will," said Johnson.
Losing the team permanently is possible, and it won't just impact the fans.
Scooter's Pub shows all the team's away games on television.
"Losing 20-50 patrons three times a week, or for bigger parties 150-200 people, could financially be a huge hit to me, thousands of dollars a month," said Scooter's owner JM Pohorsky.
According to Johnson, team owner and San Diego businessman Gary Jacobs is 100-percent committed to keeping the team in Las Vegas.
Johnson puts the team's chances of staying in Las Vegas at 75 percent.
Johnson declined to discuss specific venues to where the team could relocate.
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