The Augusta Lynx have now folded and the ECHL has another failed franchise in the South.
This league should not be allowed just to skate out of town unblemished. They have a horrible business model that sees only a very few of their teams turn a profit each year. And with well over 20 failed franchises in the South, these guys would make General Sherman proud in the destruction of teams and trail of ill will they have left in their wake.
The ECHL could have helped local ownership finish out the season and seek new owners. The ECHL could have managed the team through year end. No, the ECHL chose to let the team fail in mid-season for the first time in its sorry 21 year history. Another "feather" in their cap.
Dan Troutman and the Burches deserve the heartfelt thanks from the community when, in 2006, they stepped in at the 11th hour to keep the Lynx playing. They deserve better from a league that once again has taken the money and run.
Then there is the front office staff, coaches and players who all have gotten the bum shoulder as well. An arena left empty - concession, ushers and other hourly employees now looking elsewhere for jobs. All while the ECHL sat back and did nothing.
Is hockey viable in Augusta? With a more owner-friendly business model like the Southern Professinal Hockey League, at least ownership would have a fighting chance to recover its investment, and hockey certainly could be viable. A fresh start in a new league might just be the impetus needed to revive hockey in the CSRA.
As for the ECHL, do us all a favor: Don't ever show your face in Augusta again. I was the first season ticket holder for the Augusta Lynx, supervisor of Off-Ice Officials from the team's inception until 2005, and a member of the Lynx front office staff for the 2005-06 season.