With the long and laborious season finally over on the ice, the question now is: What happens next with the Augusta Lynx off the ice?
The Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center has approved a new lease with the team, but the organization will likely undergo major changes this off-season.
According to minority owner Mark Vieira, the Lynx are bringing in Larry Kish as president and general manager. Kish, however, has not confirmed his commitment to the Lynx.
Vieira said recently that Kish would take over the day-to-day operations of the team and would decide the fate of coach David Wilkie and assistant coach John Whitwell, as well as the current front office staff.
Wilkie, who relieved Jim Burton as coach in early November, said he hopes he gets the opportunity to return next season with designs on taking the Lynx back to the ECHL playoffs.
Several fans showed their support for Wilkie during Sunday's season-ending 4-3 overtime win over Pee Dee with signs that read "Wilkie in 2003-04."
"Obviously, the results didn't live up to the expectations this season, but I think John and I have put together a strong nucleus of players for next season," Wilkie said. "There's a good group of guys here I want to build around, but right now, I have no idea what's going to happen. There's some unfinished business here, and I hope I get the chance to come back."
CALLED UP: Forward Chris Thompson was not in the lineup in Sunday's season finale after he was loaned to the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League.
Acquired by the Lynx from Dayton at the trade deadline, Thompson finished with four goals and 13 points in 14 games for the Lynx. Overall, he tallied a career-high 56 points on 19 goals and 37 assists in 62 games for Dayton and Augusta.
Wilkie said that if he returns as coach next season, re-signing Thompson for next season will be one of his top priorities.
GOODBYE MO: Former Lynx captain Scott Morrow, who retired last season after leading the Lynx in scoring for the second straight year, is moving back to his adopted hometown of Dallas to help run a year-round hockey instruction school with former NHL players Alan May and Craig Ludwig.
The school, Puck Power, trains Dallas area travel teams and high school teams on and off the ice. The area has more than 30 ice rinks and more than 75 high school teams.
Morrow, who moved to Dallas with his family when he was 15, said he's excited to be going home to be closer to family. He added it's difficult leaving Augusta, where the former Lynx star has worked closely with Augusta's youth hockey program the past three years.
"That was probably the most difficult thing, leaving here," said Morrow, whose wife, Mikell, is from the Dallas area. "We've been here for three years and made a lot of friends in and out of hockey."
ONE-TIMERS: Wilkie and Whitwell will conduct season-ending meetings with the players today. The players will also have their exit physicals before leaving town. ... The Lynx finished 18-14-4 at home, 9-25-2 on the road. ... Pee Dee Pride rookie Mike Glumac, the team's top goal scorer named to the ECHL all-rookie team, suffered a broken arm in Saturday's 4-2 loss to South Carolina and will miss at least the first round of the playoffs. Pee Dee will face South Carolina in a best-of-5 Southeast Division semifinal series, beginning on Wednesday in North Charleston, S.C. ... Lynx equipment manager Rick Bulcak, a Richmond County Sheriff's deputy and ready reservist with the U.S. Army, has been called to active duty to help fight the war in Iraq. Bulcak leaves next week for training in Oklahoma. ... Forward Josh St. Louis celebrated his 27th birthday Sunday.
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