Augusta RiverHawks discussing possible move to Macon

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 12:25 PM
Last updated 11:21 PM
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The Augusta RiverHawks are in discussions with Macon, Ga., officials about a possible move to the city’s arena, team owner Bob Kerzner said.

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The Augusta RiverHawks (in white) take to the ice with the Fayetteville FireAntz  for an exhibition hockey game at the James Brown Arena Saturday evening October 16,  2010.      Michael Holahan/Staff  MICHAEL HOLAHAN
MICHAEL HOLAHAN
The Augusta RiverHawks (in white) take to the ice with the Fayetteville FireAntz for an exhibition hockey game at the James Brown Arena Saturday evening October 16, 2010. Michael Holahan/Staff

Kerzner confirmed Tuesday he’s had talks with city officials about potentially moving the RiverHawks to the Macon Coliseum.

The Macon-Bibb County Commis­sion’s Tuesday agenda included a presentation by Kevin Dowdell, director of sales and marketing for Macon Centreplex, which includes the coliseum. It regarded a possible return of minor league hockey to Macon.

The commission unanimously agreed to rent out the coliseum for hockey as soon as 2015, according to The Macon Telegraph.

“We’ve been working on contract details with Macon,” said Kerzner, who acknowledged in October 2013 that the team was considering moving to a new city. “It’s still up in the air, though. It’s not a 100 percent guarantee.”

The RiverHawks announced May 14, 2013, that they would not play the 2014 season at James Brown Arena. The team was forced to play its final eight 2013 home games at Augusta Ice Sports Center after the arena’s cooling system failed and the ice melted.

Kerzner waited for possible compensation from the forced move, but it never came. He moved to a legal process with Global Spectrum, which manages the arena, to find a resolution for compensation. Kerzner said attorneys for both sides are still discussing a resolution. Talks of repairing the ice system in the arena went dormant.

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nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 06/17/14 - 11:30 am
6
0
WOW ! treat a team like dirt

Don't make repairs to allow them to play.
When they start talking leaving ..... everyone is surprised downtown and can't understand why?

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 06/17/14 - 11:45 am
5
1
This is why

Augusta will never be the great city someone keeps pushing for. Reputation is everything. How many folded teams are there now? 2 hockey, 2 football, 2 basketball and soon a baseball team...

redapples
681
Points
redapples 06/17/14 - 12:33 pm
6
0
Not surprising, but

Not surprising, but disappointing. Augusta can't expect to move forward and grow jobs if you don't have recreational activities for families to enjoy or an award winning education system. Who wants to move their family to a city that doesn't have much to offer?

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 06/17/14 - 12:34 pm
4
4
Who cares?
Unpublished

Like Soccer, Hockey is just never going to go over in The South. It has no cultural tradition here. It is for all intents and purposes a Northern/Canadian sport. So maybe Augusta should look at drawing a professional Lacrosse team to replace The Riverhawks.

jimmymac
47305
Points
jimmymac 06/17/14 - 01:16 pm
0
0
HOCKEY
Unpublished

Sounds like the Augusta powers decided they didn't want to have hockey. No whining later after they leave because who could blame them.

countyman
21620
Points
countyman 06/17/14 - 01:16 pm
3
9
Weird..

Interesting... The mentality of the CSRA regarding Augusta is quite strange... The residents want the private sector to bring major concerts or semi pro teams, but they complain every single time a new idea is mentioned.. It seems more people get excited over defeating things like Splost rather than working together...

How do you expect to attract major concerts when the arena was built decades ago?

How can you expect to attract high paying jobs if families living in bigger cities don't think we offer enough? Public transportation, arts(miller theater), multi-purpose arena, water park, park in the Augusta Exchange, zip line or expanding the park on the Riverwalk, etc..

The Greenjackets are moving to North Augusta, because Dr. Azziz doesn't want to share the 17 acre GGHF site and the team didn't fold..

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 06/17/14 - 01:24 pm
9
1
Sorry bud

But if a team moves from your area they folded...the expression comes from folding up the table after the game is done. I don't mind having all those things you mentioned but from the way things are strapped to the taxpayers backs when someone else takes no risk but gets all the rewards leaves a sour taste in taxpayers mouths. Maybe if you were a native you would get that.....

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 06/17/14 - 01:30 pm
5
2
Baseball, Football, Rasslin', Car Racin'
Unpublished

Baseball does well in The South. So does High school and college football. Rasslin', though not a real sport.. is also immensely popular.. and I am sure Monday Night Rasslin matches would do well if they returned to The Bell. It would be nice to see stock car racing return to Augusta. These sports all have deep cultural roots in the South. Hockey doesn't. This is the third time a hockey team has folded in Augusta. Maybe that should be a clue that there just is not enough of a Yankee fan base to support a team here. Let' see how long they last in Macon. But I don't believe Augusta taxpayers should continue to subsidize a hockey team just to appease a handful of Yankee fans of the sport.

pja5529
2719
Points
pja5529 06/17/14 - 02:41 pm
4
6
People complain

People complain that too much money is being spent downtown. Now those same people are complaining about them not spending the money downtown to fix the arena's cooling system.

itsanotherday1
48148
Points
itsanotherday1 06/17/14 - 02:51 pm
7
0
Hockey didn't initially fail

Hockey didn't initially fail for lack of fan support, it failed due to poor management from an owner who used the team as a tax gimmick. The second go round was more of the same, Frank Lawrence and Billy Morris tried to use the team to leverage getting the taxpayers to fund Billy's personal playground for horses, and when it failed, they basically let the team dry up on the vine.

Bob Kerzner had a successful formula with the SPHL team and would still be here if not for the sorry treatment by the authority and Global Spectrum.

NHL is in Raleigh, Tampa, Miami, Dallas, and Nashville
AHL : Norfolk, Charlotte, San Antonio, Houston
ECHL: Estero Fl, Greenville SC, Charleston SC, Lawrenceville Ga, Orlando
SPHL: Augusta/Macon/somewhere, Knoxville, Fayetteville NC, Columbus Ga, Huntsville, Biloxi, Pensacola, Southaven Ms, Lafayette La.
CHL: Allen Tx
UHL: 17 teams scattered through the midwest in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio, Indiana. Missouri, Dakotas, etc. (real yankees there 'eh?)

Nope, I guess it will never fly in the South....

itsanotherday1
48148
Points
itsanotherday1 06/17/14 - 02:52 pm
3
0
pja5529, I think you see the

pja5529, I think you see the problem....

Pops
14066
Points
Pops 06/17/14 - 03:41 pm
8
1
"The residents want the private sector

to bring major concerts or semi pro teams, but they complain every single time a new idea is mentioned.. ".......WRONG.....they complain when it morphs from private sector into public taxpayer money.....whether it's tax money for Tyrone Butler's little mini theater or some hipster jazz cafe in the middle of Broad Street.......private money is ok......taxpayer money is for taxpayer services.......

pja5529
2719
Points
pja5529 06/17/14 - 05:15 pm
4
2
Pops

That may be what some want...but if you are blaming the government or the commissioners then clearly you must think its their responsibility and not the private sector. The private sector doesn't own the arena so blaming the arena means you are blaming the government.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 06/17/14 - 06:21 pm
0
0
I'm sorry
Unpublished

for Richmond county if they lose the Riverhawks, but Richmond county's racial demographics, as Atlanta's, shows that blacks are not hockey fans. Get a basketball team.

Gage Creed
19372
Points
Gage Creed 06/17/14 - 07:09 pm
6
1
@pja5529

I'm pretty sure Pops could ask this but I'll jump in... I didn't see Pops blamed the government for anything. His comment stated with a quote ""The residents want the private sector to bring major concerts or semi pro teams, but they complain every single time a new idea is mentioned.. ".......WRONG.....they complain when it morphs from private sector into public taxpayer money"

The key is the final sentence... when what should be privately financed becomes publically financed...

gargoyle
20534
Points
gargoyle 06/17/14 - 07:46 pm
4
1
"The Greenjackets are moving

"The Greenjackets are moving to North Augusta, because Dr. Azziz doesn't want to share the 17 acre GGHF site and the team didn't fold.."
Civic leaders making plans without public input for land they didn't own doomed that misguided boondoggle... can't put that one on Azziz. Lets face it the team was for sale as are a lot of minor league ball teams . Just like home renters they were shopping for the nicest digs for the least amount of outlay, if the N Augusta deal would have fell through they most likely signed a lease at Olmstead. Which IMHO are pretty god digs for a single A ball team

pja5529
2719
Points
pja5529 06/17/14 - 07:49 pm
3
1
I didn't say Pops blamed the government

I didn't say that Pops blamed the government. I only directed my response to him because he responded to my original comment on the matter. The very first comment on this thread stated "Don't make repairs to allow them to play.
When they start talking leaving ..... everyone is surprised downtown and can't understand why?."

And this is just one example. This has happened in the discussion thread of numerous articles.

gargoyle
20534
Points
gargoyle 06/17/14 - 08:29 pm
4
0
Management by committee

Management by committee through the years has spoiled the JBA reputation. Lets face it they didn't have any skin in the game if the building wasn't maintained or utilized to potential . At this point because of the political part time management in the past if the Futurity moves to greener pastures it will be boarded up like The Regency Mall PDQ .

KSL
143264
Points
KSL 06/17/14 - 09:34 pm
3
1
Butterman, I totally disagree

Butterman, I totally disagree about hockey not catching on in the South. In the first place, the major cities are full of northern transplants.

Secondly, my Aiken reared son and his wife from Florida who live in Charlotte try not to miss a single game.

dwb619
103790
Points
dwb619 06/17/14 - 09:57 pm
3
1
Butterman

Sure would be nice if this area had a high bank 1/2 dirt track like the old Augusta track on Windsor Spring Road.
The bride and I rode over 1400 miles round trip two weeks ago to see a Late model dirt race.

Jrriverhawk21
6
Points
Jrriverhawk21 06/17/14 - 10:47 pm
4
0
Thriving Youth Ice Hockey

Hockey is alive and starting to thrive in Augusta. The Junior Riverhawks are increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds. This year we will house both a Squirt and Bantam travel team. We will also have a Mite and Peewee division. Our numbers have increased from 9 players to almost 55 in just one season. With the amount of families relocating to the area for military jobs and other corporations there is a great need and want for ice hockey. Don't let the "South" fool you. We love ice hockey and would love to host a team in our area. Interested youth hockey players should contact Susan OBrien at jrriverhawk21@yahoo.com

itsanotherday1
48148
Points
itsanotherday1 06/17/14 - 11:48 pm
4
1
How many times has Gordon

How many times has Gordon Park opened and closed because new ownership could not make a go of it? Modoc? How about the old Augusta Raceway? That was before my time in Augusta, so why did it fail? I've heard it said that it was lack of support from AUGUSTA AREA RESIDENTS.
The little burgs of Sylvania, Swainsboro, and Dublin have raceways; with Dublin and Swainsboro having been operating since the 60's.

Just look in mirror Metro Augusta; if you want to find blame.

Bizkit
35414
Points
Bizkit 06/18/14 - 08:53 am
1
0
They should leave and go to a

They should leave and go to a city that is growing and managed properly-good luck and hope they have success in their new home. The Carolina Hurricanes have done well in the South, but Georgia and Florida seem be losing money.

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 06/18/14 - 09:35 am
1
0
There is also

Adult hockey leagues on Wednesday and Thursdays and they have around 60 players also.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 06/18/14 - 10:16 am
1
1
Atlanta
Unpublished

has experimented with Hockey teams several times and it has failed. It is a big city with plenty of Yankee transplants. If Hockey can't work there then why should we expect it to work in Augusta.. which is more Southern and rednecky than Atlanta with fewer yankees?

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 06/18/14 - 10:45 am
0
0
Yankees
Unpublished

in Augusta??? Well however did they get in? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnEZrV_WT44

itsanotherday1
48148
Points
itsanotherday1 06/18/14 - 04:38 pm
2
0
Atlanta Hockey

The Thrashers failed due to miserable management according to the fans I talked to.

gargoyle
20534
Points
gargoyle 06/18/14 - 06:18 pm
2
0
Gordon Park Speedway

There are allot of cars still ready to go stored here in Augusta and if you head over to the other tracks you will find a bunch of Richmond County based racers. Its sad that Gordon Park was so badly mismanaged that racers would tow over a hour away to participate instead of their hometown track . The current owners deserve all the credit for the failure no matter how it gets spun, run a square show and cars show up.

dwb619
103790
Points
dwb619 06/18/14 - 09:41 pm
2
1
local talent

Over the years I have been to dirt tracks from Ohio, West Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama.
At one time this area was well represented across the country in the "late model " division.
Fulmer Lance, Ricky Woodward, Edward Basey,Jack Pennington all come to mind.
In fact a teenager from Appling made quite a showing in Eldora,at "The Dream" last week. Name is Overton, drives in the "crate" late model division around here.

drt16
7
Points
drt16 06/22/14 - 12:58 pm
0
0
Riverhawks and team failures in Augusta

I wish to respond to the fact that the Riverhawks are wanting to move to Macon. Let them go when they first came to Augusta many of us with former experience in minor league sports tried to share our knowledge with them as to how to make it in Augusta. We told them what not to do they did it anyway. They thought they knew everything and the final straw was when they would not extend an employment offer to me. I had a sure fire formula to make sports a success in Augusta I'm from the CSRA. We don't need this in Augusta the ownership of this hockey team was from Florence SC they bought in their people and tried to run a team in Augusta good luck with that. People in Augusta respect people from Augusta bottom line.

Augusta Groove- Basketball in Augusta was not really a bad idea and I attended every game. To play the games at Richmond Academy was smart to the only problem with the team was it was ran by folks who were not from Augusta again they thought they knew everything. I still think basketball would have made it in Augusta if the team had of been centered around Augusta made up of local players and had of spent time in the Augusta market promoting them selves.

Augusta Colts failed because they tried to distance them selves from the Augusta Spartans. The Spartans won the WIFL Championship and would have made money in year three if they would have been able to hang on. Arena football teams cost money almost 750,000 a year just to operate and the civic center would not cave on rent or allow any billboards inside they gave that to the hockey team. The Colts did all they could but it takes several years of hard work to build a team just look at Columbus Lions who make money now after the first few years.

Augusta Spartans Jimmy Young did Augusta a huge favor when he rescued the team just a few weeks from being established and bought them or they would have never seen the field. His dedication to the sport and hard work off the field is what got them to the championship. It is no doubt in my mind that if he could have made it to year three the Spartans would have seen success.

To make it in minor league sports in Augusta GA you are going to have to have ownership from Augusta made up of people who are from the area. You are going to have to have players, coaches, staff from Augusta and you are going to have to have a year round program to get your name out in the area. I know of several teams that would love to call Augusta home but before they do that the civic center is going to have to bend some and the community is going to have to support them. I hope someday they will be another team in the area.

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