Discussions stall, but Reno still hopeful for ECHL hockey team
Back in Dec. 2016, the Reno City Council voted to approve pro hockey in town, to play at the Reno Events Center, starting in the fall of 2018.
City council approved a 10-year agreement with the Reno Puck Club in 2016, but that has since fallen apart.
While adding pro hockey in Northern Nevada isn’t imminent, Reno mayor Hillary Schieve said it is still a possibility.
“While we were excited about the prospect of adding a minor league hockey team in 2018, we also want to make sure that we set the team up for success during their time in Reno,” Reno mayor Hillary Schieve told the Reno Gazette Journal. “Although negotiations have stalled for the time being, our council will continue to look for ways to support the effort of bringing more professional sports teams to our great city.”
Ken Lehner, a partner with the Reno Puck Club, wants to bring hockey to Reno along with Larry Leasure, who owns the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads, but doesn’t sound optimistic.
“The RSCVA (Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitor’s Authority) is responsible for booking the Reno Events Center and they do not want to be in the arena management business,” said Lehner to the Gazette Journal. “They do not want to do a deal for a hockey team right now.”
Phil DeLone, president-CEO of the RSCVA, added that the biggest roadblock is the financial aspect.
“Few wish to undertake the expensive up-front investment on a project that might not deliver the financial returns and the long-term fan base to purchase tickets people are hopeful for,” DeLone told the Gazette Journal. “I am aware the city of Reno has had past discussions with at least one possible ice hockey developer. However, those discussions may have stalled or floundered in part due to the multimillion-dollar start-up investment required, displacement of other business and the absence, thus far, of the delivery of a detailed, written long-term business plan and accompanying financial forecast by the interested party.”
— Matt Mackinder
(April 10, 2018)