No room at Civic Center - yet - for ACHL offices
June 13, 2002
By Jack Corcoran
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
Bill Coffey isn't panicking yet. He isn't packing office supplies into bubble wrap, either.
Coffey said Wednesday a lack of available office space at the Civic Center is what's holding up a deal to bring minor-league hockey back to Tallahassee. But he described the delay as only a "minor setback" for his Atlantic Coast Hockey League team.
"I don't see any reason why Tallahassee won't have a team this year, to be honest with you," Coffey said. "I've had worse situations."
Coffey's yet-to-be-named team will eventually move into the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks' old offices. That space is being used by the Florida State men's basketball team, which is poised to move into its new practice facility adjacent to the arena. FSU associate sports information director Chuck Walsh said the Seminoles plan to begin moving next Wednesday and expect to be in their new home by the end of the month.
Any longer, and Coffey would start to worry.
"That's when it would get semi-dangerous," he said.
The clock is already ticking. The team, which opens the season on the road Oct.25, needs time to sell tickets and corporate sponsorship to a community that lost interest in the Tiger Sharks. Even so, Coffey won't sign the lease and begin relocating employees until the offices are vacant.
"What if I sign the lease and FSU's still in there in October?" asked Coffey, the ACHL's founder and president. "I'm not going outside to get offices and incur other expenses. When I sign a lease, I walk in and do my deal and I'm done. Slam-dunk. Three days and I'm operating. It would be foolish on my part to obligate myself to a lease when who knows what could happen between now and July 1."
The ACHL, which has added Lakeland and St. Petersburg, will open training camps Oct.16. Each team will be allowed to carry 16 players. The league is not releasing the 2002-03 salary cap figure.