The Central Hockey League announced at a press conference Tuesday it has taken over operations of the Quad City Mallards.
It’s not the deal anyone hoped for, but after a rocky start to the season, the team, fans and leadership are just happy to see that the season will go on.
“I wish that this conference was back in May, that there were more sales going on, more things being done to promote the team. But you know what? The Mallards are alive right now. That’s a positive, and we’ve got to build on that,” said former owner Howard Cornfield. Cornfield has been working on the deal as a consultant.
It’s a positive that comes after a week of disappointments and speculation. Former owner Club 9 Sports pulled out of the franchise, talks with a possible replacement fell through, and amidst all the negotiations, the Mallards season opener was cancelled.
“We haven’t been in this position before, but again we fully believe in what that market has to offer. With the past history and proud history that the Mallards organization has had, we want to get it back up to the level it was at in its pinnacle,” said CHL commissioner Duane Lewis.
The League has assured fans it will see the Mallards through the entirety of the 2012-2013 season while it continues to look for an owner. After four different owners in the past four years, though, officials said it’s time to shop around for the right fit.
“We didn’t want to just bring anyone in. We could have done that and had somebody come in and run it, but we wanted to make sure they had the wherewithal to succeed. We didn’t have anybody at the end of the day that we felt could succeed,” said iwireless Center executive director Scott Mullen.
Some questions still remain, like who will be responsible for the debt left behind by former owner Club 9 Sports. Coaches and players, though, said their attention is once more on the ice.
The Mallards will open their season on the road in Tulsa Friday, with the home opener set for Saturday.