Tuesday, December 2, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---It's now official. As of 5 p.m. today, the Augusta Lynx ceased operation due to financial problems. The team told the ECHL office this afternoon that they would no longer be able to continue the season.
The ownership group, General Manager and Co-Owner Dan Troutman and co-owners Robert Burch and Jan Hodges-Burch, asked the ECHL to take over operations of the team to allow them to finish the season but the ECHL Board of Governors voted against it.
"I don't think anybody was happy. They don't want to lose a team or anything else," said Troutman. "But they have a league to protect business to run on their own."
The ownership group attributed the disbanding of the team to "a perfect storm" of problems from a bad economy to lack of attendance. The team tried for days to secure an investor to help the team stay afloat but the ECHL gave the team a 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. By the time the deadline came, the Lynx had not yet found anyone to help.
"Businesses are closing left and right", said Troutman. "Not just in Augusta, Georgia but all across the country, big and small. And it's just a culmination of all that."
Troutman called Head Coach John Marks at 5:15 p.m. and informed him of the situation. Marks was expected to meet with all of the players later in the evening. All Lynx players on the roster are now considered free agents.
"Quite frankly, it's been a hectic 3-4 days and we didn't plan this", said Troutman. "I really expected to let everyone know tonight or tomorrow morning that we had something worked out."
"This is like a dream and you hope you wake up and say that it didn't happen, but it did."
The ownership group said they have no answer yet for season-ticket holders who are looking for a refund. But they did thank all of the fans, saying "the quality of the fans were great" inside James Brown Arena.
"We've had support in Augusta," said Hodges-Burch. "It just wasn't quite enough. Just like I don't have quite enough right now. I'm sorry Augusta. I'm sorry for the community. I'm just sorry in general. This is a great loss for Augusta."