Sea Wolves To Return To Action In 2007
BILOXI, Miss. The Mississippi Sea Wolves ownership announced on
Monday that it did not receive a letter from the Mississippi Coast
Coliseum indicating that the Coliseum would be ready for hockey in
time for the upcoming 2006-07 season. As a result of the delays, the
ECHL has no other choice but to move forward and begin setting its
Mr. Bill Holmes, Mississippi Coast Coliseum Executive Director, has
publicly stated that the Coliseum would be ready for hockey and the
return of the Sea Wolves in 2007-08.
"The Sea Wolves ownership is committed to keeping the team on the
Mississippi Gulf Coast and will not move or sell the team provided
fan commitment remains strong," said Mike Rogers, Sea Wolves
operating owner. "The team needs to maintain or increase its number
of season ticket holders to remain here on the coast. It was because
of this base that the ECHL gave the Sea Wolves unprecedented
The inside of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum was extensively damaged
by flooding, including the team offices, locker rooms, ice-making
equipment and two Zambonis.
Payments made for 2005-06 season tickets will be credited towards the
2007-08 season. All early bird discounts and seat selections will
remain in effect. Season ticket prices will continue to remain at the
2005-06 rates for all current season ticket holders.
The Sea Wolves temporary office is located at 1733 East Pass Road in
Gulfport, inside Grate Grills & More.
The Sea Wolves are locally owned by fans that love the great game of
hockey and are committed to keeping the team on the coast. The
ownership will not cut and run so long as their loyal fans stand by
Mississippi Sea Wolves
Wolves have to sit out season
By LARRY HOLDER
BILOXI - Mississippi Sea Wolves coach Steffon Walby couldn't help but
wear his emotions on his sleeve when he caught wind of the news.
"I can't do another season without hockey," Walby said as he rubbed
his hands over his shaved head.
But that's the reality the Sea Wolves now face as the team announced
Monday that it will suspend hockey operations for the 2006-07 season.
The team has been granted a voluntary suspension from the league,
which is the same thing the Sea Wolves received in 2005.
The deadline was supposed to be 8 a.m. Monday, but the ECHL extended
it until the end of the business day. With the money to repair the
Mississippi Coast Coliseum unavailable by the deadline, the Sea
Wolves now are forced to wait until 2007 before taking the ice again
on the Coast.
"The deadline has come and passed and we couldn't get a letter from
(Coliseum executive director) Bill Holmes (to approve the use of the
Coliseum)," Rogers said.
The players on the Sea Wolves roster become free agents.
Rogers, Holmes and ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said they are
committed to bringing the team back in '07.
The Sea Wolves' operating owner made that emphatically clear to
everyone who called him about the pending deadline.
McKenna said he appreciates the work that both the team and the
Coliseum have put into their attempt to bring the Sea Wolves back
for '06. But he agrees with the decision.
The major issue remains the extensive damage to the Coliseum from
Hurricane Katrina and the lack of money for repairs. Total damage
estimates to the property are more than $30 million, and Holmes said
it would have taken about $8.5 million to get the Coliseum back in
Rogers said there was some last-minute confusion, though, about the
issues involving the team's return to the Coliseum. He said he's been
hearing for months that the problem had been solely monetary. But
that's not the answer he received.
"Now it's not only a money issue, but it's a time issue of whether or
not things should be done in October... . Unexpected would be the
word. It was all about the money. Now I'm finding out it was all
about the money and the time."
Holmes said the issues of time and money are one in the same.
"It absolutely correlates," Holmes said. "The money, the time, the
finished product. It's a real simple deal."
Rogers said the state was willing to do whatever it could to help
speed up getting the money. But that still would take time, and the
league needed an answer Monday.
Walby said with a second year without hockey, the club also will lose
its affiliation with the NHL's New York Islanders and the CHL's
Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Ticket sales will determine the team's fate for the '07-'08 campaign.
As of Monday, 931 season ticket holders have put down at least 25
percent to reserve tickets for the '06 season.
Rogers said the goal is not to dwell on another lost season. It's to
work diligently for '07.
"We'll maintain a presence on the Coast," he said. "We'll start
selling for 2007. We'll get our lease to 2007. We'll get our scouting
reports ready from Walby."