Retail stores slashed prices and held big sales hoping to lure shoppers Friday during the biggest shopping day of the year. In a sense, Augusta Lynx co-owners Dan Troutman and Jan Hodges Burch made a similar pitch at an afternoon news conference.
The bargain item was the team itself, and the pitch was close to a going-out-of-business sale.
"We want to find a solution or a way to keep hockey in Augusta, Ga. Unfortunately, we've run into a whole lot of roadblocks," Mr. Troutman said. "The time is now. If anyone has an interest, if you know anyone, they need to be talking to us, because we don't have months to sort this thing out. We've got a window of a few more days to continue to get one of these deals done."
The Lynx will play at home tonight, but the team's future beyond that is up in the air. Mrs. Burch, teary eyed and standing before a room full of cameras and Lynx fans, pleaded for help.
" 'Tis the season for giving, and Jan's all given out," she said. "At this point in time, I'm begging anyone who can come and help us with this. The urgency is at hand, no doubt."
Mr. Troutman said the team came into the season knowing money would be tight, and a series of backup financial plans fell through a little more than two weeks ago.
Mr. Troutman said that left the team and ownership group now seeking $200,000 to $300,000 from an investor or group of investors to keep the team running past this weekend. He said three such groups have shown interest, and the Lynx have shared financial information with two of them, but no one has made a commitment.
"We don't have a deal at this point, but we're working with them very feverishly to get that done," Mr. Troutman said.
The Lynx have been in talks with the ECHL.
Mr. Troutman said if the ownership group isn't able to find a new investor in "a matter of days," then the future of the team would be in the hands of the league.
Mr. Troutman said the ECHL has assured him that it will "look at all options" concerning the future of the team, but league commissioner Brian McKenna said Wednesday that an ECHL team has never folded in the middle of the season, and the league "was not set up" to handle such a situation.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO: Augusta Lynx vs. Charlotte Checkers
WHEN: 7 tonight