WHEELING - The Wheeling Nailers organization, and co-Presidents Rob and Jim Brooks in particular, have gone to great lengths to make us believe ECHL hockey will be in town for a 19th consecutive season. But what's attempting to be brokered in some dark room in a corner of an empty arena in Johnstown paints a starkly contrasting picture.
According to two sources with knowledge of the inner workings of the situation who wish to remain anonymous, the Brooks brothers are currently negotiating to play at least a portion of their 2010-2011 ''home'' games at famed Cambria County War Memorial, which at the end of this season will cease being the home to the Chiefs, who are being relocated to Greenville, S.C.
If this story sounds familiar, it's because it's happened before. It was only two years ago that, according to whom you believe, the brothers had everything but a signed contract to move the Wheeling franchise to Youngstown. That fell through reportedly because the deal was leaked before it was able to be made official, according to the head of that Youngstown group, Bruce Zoldan.
For the first 4-5 years after the Brooks brothers purchased the Nailers they were clearly visible in both the community and at games.
But more recently that hasn't been the case, and whether they realize it or not, that, along with the supposed jump to Youngstown, has greatly affected their credibility in this town.
It certainly has with WesBanco Arena Executive Director Denny Magruder.
''Just stand up, be honest and let's sit down and talk about it,'' Magruder said Sunday. ''They just need to be forthright and stop sneaking behind our backs.
''If that's really the case, that has not been uttered to me, (though) I also heard that rumor a couple days ago.''
JS© wrote:I'd hate to see Wheeling lose their team for a partial season, but if it means a team back in Johnstown, then I'm not gonna complain.
Kicksave wrote:So you have to cities that can't support a team sharing one team?
DocEmrick wrote:Is intelligencer a word?
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