The Fort Worth Brahmas hockey team won’t play next season, and the Central Hockey League said it’s looking for “a more suitable venue” for the club to play in beginning the 2014-2015 season.
The Arizona-based league announced the change in a release touting the addition of franchises from St. Charles, Mo., and Brampton, Ontario, Can. The Brahmas and another franchise from Bloomingon, Ill. “will not paricipate in the upcoming season,” the league said.
“The league is working to find a more suitable venue for the (Brahmas) to return to play in 2014-15,” the league said, noting the Brahmas took a “one-year hiatus” in 2006-07 to switch venues.
Representatives from the league and Brahmas did not return calls.
The team won the Central Hockey League title in 2009.
The league said it declared all Brahmas and Bloomington players to be unrestricted free agents. But it didn’t say whether the Brahmas were out of business, or what the ownership status of the team is.
It also didn’t say why the NYTEX Sports Centre, the 8-year-old, 2,500-seat home of the team in North Richland Hills, isn’t suitable. The Brahmas have played at NYTEX, an open-to-the-public rink, for six seasons, including about 30 home games this past season, said Ken Franklin, a NYTEX manager.
“It’s a very nice facility,” Franklin said. “There’s no reason for anyone not to play here.”
The team’s choices of area facilities that already have ice floors and plants are few. The city of Fort Worth has two – the Will Rogers Coliseum and the Fort Worth Convention Center – and has had conversations with the Brahmas in the past year.
But the Coliseum is booked solid with a circus and horse shows during almost all of the hockey season, and the Convention Center arena, where the Brahmas played several games this past season and can seat more than 20,000 for hockey, is too large, said Kirk Slaughter, Fort Worth’s public events director.
“There were nights where they had 300 people in the arena, there were nights where they had 3,000,” Slaughter said. “You kind of get lost with a small crowd.”
The Brahmas owe Fort Worth $5,000 for cancelling two games in the most recent season, and owe a food and beverage concessionaire $3,230, Slaughter said.
“I don’t know whether we’ll get paid or not,” he said.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter