City prepared to move ahead without hockey

YOUNGSTOWN —The city will do all it can to keep minor league hockey at its Chevrolet Centre, but officials are prepared to move ahead without it, Mayor Jay Williams said.

The Central Hockey League terminated the membership of the Youngstown SteelHounds, which plays its 32 home games at the center, for the 2008-09 season.

“There’s no doubt about it, we’ll have hockey long-term,” said Eric Ryan, the center’s executive director. “Next year is the question mark.”

Ryan said “it would be difficult” and “challenging” to join a new league for the upcoming season.

“I don’t know if it can be done this season,” he said. “The impact of not having hockey would hurt, but we’ll have hockey definitely for 2009-10.”

Williams and Ryan wants to meet shortly with Herb Washington, whose Blue Line Hockey LLC company owns the SteelHounds, and officials with SMG, a Philadelphia company that is finalizing a deal to help manage and promote the center.

“We need to determine what options we have,” Williams said. “At this point, it’s premature to tell what we’ll do, but we will make a decision in the very near future.”

SteelHounds games make up one-third of the total events at the center.

“It’s important to have an anchor tenant and it’s premature to suggest there won’t be hockey for this upcoming season,” Williams said. “But there are opportunities if 32 dates aren’t filled by hockey.”

For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Vindicator and

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