“We reached a handshake agreement today,” Kerzner said. “Now it’s just a matter of typing it all up and making it official. But I can say now hockey will be back in Augusta next year.”
The team is expected to make a formal announcement later this week.
The RiverHawks came to Augusta in 2010 as a Southern Professional Hockey League expansion team, and Kerzner signed a two-year lease with the arena. The original agreement was set to expire at the end of this hockey season, but arena general manager Monty Jones Jr. confirmed that the two sides have settled on an agreement to keep hockey around for a third year and possibly longer.
“The original deal was for two years with a one-year option. This is that one-year option,” Jones said. “Once we get that all done, then we’re talking about more years.”
Jones said the team and the arena have enjoyed a “good partnership” over the past two years, unlike the city’s previous hockey team, the Augusta Lynx, who shutdown suddenly two months into the 2009-10 season, leaving the arena scrambling to fill open dates.
Jones said the RiverHawks have proven to be good tenants.
“They’ve been fine. We haven’t had any problems,” he said. “That’s why we’ve made some amendments (to the original lease agreement) for them.”
Kerzner said the one-year extension was similar to the original two-year agreement with a few changes that helped both sides.
“It’s the same. We had to throw some different monies here and there to save us some money and give the arena the chance to raise some additional revenue,” Kerzner said. “It works for everybody.”