Civic Center, hockey team close to deal
May 30, 2002
by Jack Corcoran
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
The Civic Center expects to have a new tenant within the next week.
The arena's board Wednesday passed a motion to move forward with the lease deal that will bring an Atlantic Coast Hockey League franchise to the Capital City. Executive director Ron Spencer told the Civic Center Authority he expects to execute the contract by next Wednesday, giving board members time for any last-minute input.
The team, owned by ACHL founder Bill Coffey, had tentatively planned a press conference for Friday. But Coffey, who will be unavailable next weekend because of league meetings in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said he now hopes to announce the team name and introduce his coach at an event for fans and sponsors sometime during the middle of June. That won't leave much time to energize a community that lost interest in the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, who left town last summer.
"Yeah, it is a lot of work, but fortunately we don't start until the end of October," Coffey said. "So I've got my four solid months."
The groundwork is already under way. Coffey said Tom Whited, the team's new vice president of business operations, was in town Tuesday to begin interviewing candidates for sales and marketing positions with the team.
"I told him try to hire locals, try to hire Florida State graduates," Coffey said. "You've got a great university sitting there with a pretty good sports management program. So I want to hire as much locally as I can. They know the market and they know their way around."