News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 3, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---It's official. The days of hockey in Augusta have come to an end; at least, for now. The Augusta Lynx spent the day closing shop.
The boards were being erased. The pucks were being turned in. The Augusta Lynx head coach found it hard to let go.
"I mean it's all I've done," said coach John Marks. "I've got a degree, but I'm an older guy, and I've got a passion for the game."
For the third time in four years Coach Marks is heading a folding team.
"I keep looking up and say well you challenging me again and I'm still here," said Coach. "I accept this challenge and go on."
There's a lot to reflect on. The weight-room is quiet. 19 players will have to weigh-in elsewhere.
The locker-room is now empty. When you add in coaches and staff, we're talking about 35 employees out of a job.
"That's the hard thing," said Coach. "You know I've always worked. I've worked hard."
But hard work was not enough to save a team skating on thin ice.
"The team had some money that was due them from outside sources that never materialized," said Coach. "If we had that [money] we'd still be operating."
"It's unfortunate we have to deal with this situation," said arena general manager Monty Jones, Jr. "But we're just going forward and looking to book more shows."
Jones is now faced with replacing the team's 29 remaining play dates.
"But we're gonna make it happen and get things done," said Jones.
The arena is already preparing for the next ice act as Coach Marks faces a strikingly cold holiday.
"You always look forward to happy times," said Coach. "But right now it's kind of sad."
There are still more questions than answers. There is no word yet on what will happen with season ticket holders. The Lynx still have a debt to settle with the arena. They're looking to take things one day at a time.