Wheeling hockey team won’t be coming to Chevy Centre

YOUNGSTOWN — Any hope of bringing the Wheeling [W.Va.] Nailers hockey team to the Chevrolet Centre for upcoming season is gone.

Bruce Zoldan said he received an e-mail today from Jim and Rob Brooks, the Nailers’ co-owners, stating they have no intention of relocating their team to Youngstown.

In an article in today’s Vindicator, Zoldan said he’d “had multiple conversations with Wheeling, and there’s very strong interest” in coming to Youngstown.

While the Brooks brothers haven’t returned calls from The Vindicator, they told various Wheeling media, including The Intelligencer newspaper, they have no plans to relocate the team here.

Jim Brooks described his conversations with those interested in hockey in Youngstown as providing opinions about the feasibility of starting a team here or the possible relocation of another team to Youngstown, according to the Wheeling newspaper.

Zoldan said the discussions were much more serious and dealt with the Nailers possible move to the Chevrolet Centre. The team’s owners came to the center to watch the Mahoning Valley Phantoms, Zoldan’s junior hockey league team, play games at the facility as well as tour the arena, he said.

The brothers probably denied having interest because they wanted discussions to be kept confidential, Zoldan said. But Zoldan said because questions asked by a Vindicator reporter were “pretty detailed,” there was no reason to keep the information secret.

“They’re embarrassed in front of their Wheeling fans and Wheeling facility and being questioned by the Wheeling media,” Zoldan said about the Brooks brothers’ denials. “If security or confidentiality was breached, it wasn’t done intentionally.”

For more on this story, read Friday’s Vindicator or Vindy.com

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