MOLINE - Quad City Mallards head coach Terry Ruskowski said his hockey team will soon have a new team president and owner.
Ruskowski said this in an interview over the phone Monday. The Mallards play their first regular season game in less than a week, and they have not even had a full practice yet. That's because half of their players are still stuck at the Canadian border with visa problems.
"I go to bed thinking what can I do. What should I do?" Ruskowski said. "I get up and feel the same way. It's very frustrating."
In fact, Ruskowski wasn't even in town Monday. He was still at his home in Houston, but he also told us that things are about to change.
"We have a new president that's coming in tomorrow or tonight," Ruskowski said. "I'm going to be in tomorrow morning or late morning."
The Mallard's front office workers were not inside the i Wireless Center Monday. The team's voicemail message said that its office was closed for the day. The team is owned by Club Nine Sports out of the Chicago area.
"It doesn't matter who they're owned by," Mallards fan Maury Peterson said. "As long as there is hockey on the ice, I'll still go."
Peterson says he and his son go to about ten games a year. Even though it would be the fifth different ownership group in the last seven years, Peterson doesn't really care.
"I think if the community comes out and supports them, then I think that's the key thing," Peterson said. "I think there still is a pretty big following around here, so I think it would be a big disappointment if they did leave town."
There has been talk about the Mallards leaving though, especially because the team has had to cancel its two preseason games. Ruskowski says he hasn't talked to Club Nine Sports in quite a while. Nonetheless, many of the fans would just be happy to see the team stay.
"It doesn't matter what their record is. You just gotta love the sport," Mallards fan Matt Bremer said. "As long as they're here, I think they'll be good. I hope they stay because you want it. You want to see them come back. You really do."
Ruskowski says he expects an announcement to be made later on in the week. The Mallards play their first regular season game Friday in Wichita. That is still scheduled to be played. However, Ruskowski is going to try have the Central Hockey League reschedule the game because his full team is not in the area.
The Mallards play their first home game of the year on Saturday, October 27th. Ruskowski says that he is very excited to back to the area. The ice has already been put out at the i Wireless Center.