News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, July 22, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The summer has not been good for hockey in Augusta.
The RiverHawks called it quits last month, and now another blow for young hockey fans. The Augusta Ice Sports Center lost its fight to stay open today. For a lot of kids and families who called it a second home, this is a big loss.
By the end of business hours today the building will be sold, which means it will no longer be an ice rink and the Jr. RiverHawks have to find a new home.
The Jr. RiverHawks may have started out small, but right now they're booming.
"So we're up pushing 70 kids in the program when a few months ago we only had twenty," head coach Steven Munn said.
Hockey plays a big part in Munn's life, and his son's.
"He loves it, I love to watch him, love to hear him talk about it," he said.
They spend at least two or three nights a week at the rink, it's become a second home for the family.
"I considered just renting a room there and bringing my sleeping bag," Munn said.
Now all of that might come to an end. Duncan Crerar, owner of Augusta Ice Sports Center, had only two weeks to raise two million dollars, or the building would be sold. Tuesday's the deadline and they're a million short.
"After the end of August, there won't be an ice rink in Augusta," Crerar said.
Which could mean trouble for the Jr. RiverHawks. Without the ice rink they could have a long way to go before they can put on those ice skates. That could mean a big loss for these kids.
"There are some that had dreams of moving on and maybe playing college hockey later in life, and now that dream is basically gone," Crerar said.
But Munn says, he will do whatever it takes, to keep the Jr. RiverHawks on the ice.
"Just hoping we can keep our kids together and get them back on the ice as soon as possible," he said.
The doors are still open now, but come August they'll be locked and we'll be looking at a new business.
The Jr. RiverHawks are looking into some other options to keep the kids playing. They said they will do whatever it takes, driving to Columbia or even buying synthetic ice. As for the Augusta Ice Sports Center, they're not giving up either. The owner says he's looking for a business partner to help open a new ice center, that hopefully will be even bigger and better.