News 12 at 11o'clock / Monday, March 4, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- What should be ice is now concrete at the James Brown Arena and a gaping hole exposing the problem.
"The ice won't properly freeze. The floor won't freeze. I think the last temperature reading I heard, it would get to 31 degrees, which usually our ice sits between 15 and 17 degrees," RiverHawks President and Head Coach Mark Richards said.
A leak in the floor of the JBA means the rest of this week's RiverHawks games will be played at the Augusta Ice Sports Center.
"If it's a physical game, it could get ugly quick," fan Dalton Day said.
He's not just talking about the action on the ice. With considerably less seating, that means not everyone can go.
"I'm sure other fans were hurt by it," he said.
On their official Facebook page, the team posted: "Due to continued problems with the ice ... requiring a complete system replacement ... capacity is limited to 400 persons."
That means only current season ticket holders and sponsors will have a chance at the first-come, first-served seats.
"It gets crowded quick," Day warned.
He plans on being one of those people in the stands.
"Lucky enough, I did have a sponsor offer me a ticket earlier, which was awesome. I grew up playing hockey since I was 16. Ended up getting hurt where I couldn't play anymore, so watching's really the only thing I have," Day said.
Coach Richards says he's looking forward to a packed house, and they'll make do with the new space, but it's something they don't want to do long term.
Instead, Richards says he'd like to see a long-term fix.
"Ultimately, they're gonna have to repair the floor at some point in time. A more permanent thing would be the best thing for our hockey club to know that we're protected," he said.
When News 12 asked if the JBA's decision will affect the team's decision whether or not to stay in Augusta, he responded with, "Well, it's hard to play without ice. I know that. So yeah, I guess, ultimately it will."
News 12 reached out to James Brown Arena administrators to find out what their long-term plans are but we could not get an answer.
Richards says the problems started with a leak in the floor, and when they dug down in the concrete, they found even more problems.
With only a couple more weeks left in the hockey season, the big question for the arena will be what to do to fix an expensive problem.