Wranglers pull out of move to downtown Las Vegas - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Wranglers pull out of move to downtown Las Vegas

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The official logo of the Las Vegas Wranglers ice hockey team. (Source: Las Vegas Wranglers) The official logo of the Las Vegas Wranglers ice hockey team. (Source: Las Vegas Wranglers)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The ice has melted on the Las Vegas Wranglers' move to downtown Las Vegas.

On Wednesday, the Plaza hotel-casino, which was announced as the future home of the minor league hockey team, said the team told them that constructing an arena there would cost too much.

In a statement the Plaza said the Wranglers chose not to go on with moving the club there.

The downtown property further stated it made every effort to accommodate the project, expressing disappointment after the joint venture was no longer possible.

FOX5 on Wednesday afternoon spoke with Wranglers President Billy Johnson, who is trying to remain optimistic despite Wednesday's news.

"We want to get this right, and sometimes you have to change your plans to get it right. I think the last thing you want to do is drop a lot of money on something and realize that to make it work, ticket prices would go from $18 to $28," Johnson said.

In February, the team announced it reached a 5-year agreement to move the team for games at the Plaza. Plans called for an ice arena to be built next to the property which was to be covered by a fabric tent.

The tent would have seated 3,500 people, according to the deal.

At the start of the year, the team announced the end of an 11-year relationship with Boyd Gaming to house games at Orleans Arena.

Johnson said the possibility exists that the team could take a season off to regroup.

"There's always that sort of chance. I would be lying to you and overly joyful if I said, ‘Oh, there's not chance.' There's always that chance because you never know what you're going to come across," Johnson said.

The ECHL team was also under pressure from their league to prove they had secured a home.

"The ECHL is certainly in the loop. They've had a couple of visits in the past six or seven weeks, and we've been in constant communication with them. We do need to get this resolved, at least privately. Not necessarily a public announcement, but we do need to get this resolved as quickly as we can," Johnson said.

MGM Resorts' coming 20,000-seat arena has sparked speculation that Las Vegas could lure its own National Hockey League franchise. Johnson said that's a separate issue and suggested the Wranglers could coexist with an NHL team.

"We're not going to invest a lot of money on something that won't work or to get nudged out because the NHL comes. So, with that in mind, our comfort level is high. Should that happen, we probably could coexist if the structure is correct, if the structure is right. I think the two are separate. I don't think it helps or hurts either way," Johnson said.

Stay tuned to FOX5 for the latest on this developing story.

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