Winter Hawks Go Out in Style

by Steve, March 25th, 2008

I caught the final Winter Hawks game last Sunday, and it was a doozy. The Hawks won on an unbelievable behind-the-back move by Matt Schmermund in the shootout.

This was almost enough to make me forget, for just a moment, that the Hawks were finishing one of the worst seasons in the history of the WHL, and that the threat of relocating the franchise is hanging like a pall over Hawkey Town.

Bombastic principal owner Jim Goldsmith bluffs that he’s looking at rinks within 60 miles for potential relocation if he can’t renegotiate his lease. (Of course, anybody that knows anything about hockey in the region knows there is nothing within 60 miles.)

So Goldsmith, under orders from the league to renegotiate, appears to be playing a game of high-stakes chicken with the Trailblazers, the lessor.

The best hope for the Winter Hawks would be a new owner group, one that knows hockey, knows the region, and knows how to negotiate. Short of that, Goldsmith’s best hope might be if the city, which owns the Memorial Coliseum, steps in to twist the Trailblazers’ arm to enter into lease renegotiation talks.

If neither of these two things happen, I’m afraid Schmermund’s move last Sunday may end up being our last look at Canadian major junior hockey in a city with a rich hockey history.

That would really suck.

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