New hockey team wants to win over Lynx fans

Plans for a Southern Professional Hockey League team to play in Augusta was announced at a news conference this morning at the James Brown Arena.
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Minor league hockey will be reintroduced to Augusta today at James Brown Arena. An ownership group with intentions to bring a Southern Professional Hockey League expansion team to town will be introduced at a 10 a.m. news conference and plans to announce that the arena will play host to hockey again after more than a year without a team.

The news conference will also serve as a chance for the public to warm up to the ownership group and concept of a new team. Many fans of the last hockey team in town, the Augusta Lynx, said they're approaching the new venture with caution. Others are ready and willing to support a new team in a new league.

Beech Island resident Patricia Pinkston, a former Lynx season ticket holder, is one of the hesitant ones. She and the other 2008-09 season ticket holders were left with a stack of worthless tickets when the Lynx folded two months into the season, and the wounds haven't healed.

"We got conned," she said. "Financially, I can't afford to buy more tickets when I'm out the $700 already."

Pinkston said she wouldn't purchase any more hockey tickets until she was reimbursed for the old Lynx tickets. A group of five former Lynx season ticket holders looking for similar retribution filed a lawsuit in April seeking more than $3,000 from Lynx ownership, but the group dropped the suit over the summer on the advice of lawyers.

SPHL commissioner Jim Combs, who will reveal the new ownership group at today's news conference, said the owners are unaffiliated with the old Lynx ownership group and "shouldn't be held responsible for anything in the past."

Combs called the local fans' apprehension a "legitimate concern," and his introduction today will most likely include a request to fans to give the new team a chance.

Some former Lynx season ticket holders will do just that, including Mike Luxenberg, who said he had been a Lynx season ticket holder since the team first came to town more than a decade ago.

"There's a fair amount of distrust right now with hockey fans here," Luxenberg said. "I think these new owners have to do something. They ought to give first priority to the previous season ticket holders and let them get their old seats back or get seats together."

Such a deal would be difficult for a new team to pull off. Combs said the new ownership group does not have access to records identifying past season ticket holders of a defunct team. The Lynx played in the ECHL, which has no affiliation with the SPHL, so no help could come from the league office, either.

But Combs hinted that there might still be some type of promotion for loyal fans.

"They're looking at some things they can do in that regard," Combs said of the new ownership group. "I want to make sure I say again that they shouldn't be held responsible for anything in the past. It's not fair to them. But I do know that they are going to try to do something anyway."

Former Lynx coach Jim Burton said he's aware of the anger and distrust held by many local hockey fans but said he thinks they'll eventually latch on to the new team.

"It would certainly be great if they can do something for the season ticket holders, because they're as loyal a group as they can be. But I don't know if that's economically possible," Burton said.

"I do think this team will be a better fit for Augusta. It's a run-and-gun style and a little more physical. People are going to like it."

If you go

WHAT: News conference introducing new minor league hockey team's owners and general manager. The conference is open to the public.

WHEN: 10 a.m.

WHERE: James Brown Arena

Comments (19) Add comment
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Hoser
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Hoser 02/09/10 - 01:58 am
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See you there!

See you there!

Dixieman
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Dixieman 02/09/10 - 06:35 am
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New is new. It is foolish to

New is new. It is foolish to expect the new owners to pony up for the sins of prior management when there is no relationship between the two. Would you pay off the debts of the people who used to live in your house or apartment? Thought not.

Petey Aitchess
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Petey Aitchess 02/09/10 - 08:09 am
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Knowing the season ticket

Knowing the season ticket holders, I can't believe anybody would take somebody else's traditional seats. I think this would be self-policing if folks claiming to be former season ticket holders were given seat choice priority, everybody knows where the others used to sit. I certainly wouldn't try and take cherished Section 101 seats from anybody due to the grief and confetti we'd (rightfully) be subjected to.....

Petey Aitchess
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Petey Aitchess 02/09/10 - 08:11 am
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The contact list for members

The contact list for members of the Lynx Booster Club probably still exists, maybe they (hey Becky!), could furnish a seat list to the team for those that want their old ones back.

justus4
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justus4 02/09/10 - 09:16 am
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Is this that all-white bunch
Unpublished

Is this that all-white bunch trying start a all-white league? Where is ol' Moose and his supporters and how's he doing with his efforts? The area is fertile gound for his beliefs, so any new team gotta get sworn in.

jb1234
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jb1234 02/09/10 - 09:21 am
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Justus, why does every one of

Justus, why does every one of your comments have to be about race?! Anyway, I welcome the new team and will see you all there at the first game!

Chillen
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Chillen 02/09/10 - 10:34 am
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We used to go to Lynx games

We used to go to Lynx games from time to time. Looking forward to a new team in town and some much needed entertainment in Augusta!

Newsreader
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Newsreader 02/09/10 - 10:49 am
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Justus4, this is a Hockey

Justus4, this is a Hockey Team. The all white league was for a basketball team. Please at least read and be familiar with a story before spewing your racist remarks.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/09/10 - 11:12 am
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Someone has a HUGE racial

Someone has a HUGE racial chip on their shoulder.....cough, cough Justus?!

sid2279
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sid2279 02/09/10 - 11:18 am
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Ok. He brought up race but

Ok. He brought up race but please quit commenting on it because it's just going to drum up yet another flame war.

disssman
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disssman 02/09/10 - 11:29 am
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So are they going to be

So are they going to be called the "LYNX"? Even though I have no Mercedes like the "stakeholders" that own the place, I'll be there. Now I have to figure out a way for the kids to drop me off and pick me up, because I sure ain't parking my car downtown at night. Maybe I could catch a bus.

BobM
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BobM 02/09/10 - 11:30 am
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I hope the tickets prices are

I hope the tickets prices are reasonable considering the level of talent this league brings. Looking forward to watching some games.

BobM
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BobM 02/09/10 - 11:30 am
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I hope the tickets prices are

I hope the tickets prices are reasonable considering the level of talent this league brings. Looking forward to watching some games.

sid2279
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sid2279 02/09/10 - 11:55 am
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I hope they pick another name

I hope they pick another name help wash away some of the resentment associated with the Lynx brand.

oldenoughtoknowbetter
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oldenoughtoknowbetter 02/09/10 - 12:02 pm
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I think if the new owners
Unpublished

I think if the new owners want to win over the Lynx fans they need to honor their season tickets that were lost when the Lynx folded. A small price to pay to the folks that got shafted by the Lynx.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/09/10 - 12:11 pm
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If the new owners were

If the new owners were marketing-savvy they'd send out a special 1st year promotion deal to all former Lynx season tickets holders - 25 or 50% off or something really enticing to get them connected to this new team. Plus they could set it up so that the charge for it is drafted to their credit card over time, giving the ticket holders an "out" if the new team bails on them too. It would have to be clear that this is the first year only, deals don't extend to subsequent years or they won't make enough money to stay here.

Southernboy54
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Southernboy54 02/09/10 - 12:22 pm
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Chillen there is plenty of

Chillen there is plenty of entertainment in Augusta just not enough consistent support.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/09/10 - 12:45 pm
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southernboy I'd love to hear

southernboy I'd love to hear some of the things. We were really looking for something to do this weekend & all we could find was an antique show for $60 per person! I know the Battle of Aiken is coming up. I swear we are always looking for something fun & fairly inexpensive & can't find it! Suggestions please!

Ma
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Ma 02/10/10 - 12:48 am
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Former season ticket holder,

Former season ticket holder, here. Getting Brian Patafie back is totally awesome, and wipe the slate clean, boys. Let's get ready to rumble. You guys have lost more money on lottery tickets, bingo and cheap wine, so let's all get over it. Augusta hockey fans will rock the house!

Hoser
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Hoser 03/15/10 - 10:19 pm
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Ma! How the hell are ya?

Ma! How the hell are ya?

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