The good news week wagon keeps on rolling for the Federal Hockey League, as defending-champion and oldest-franchise Watertown Wolves are “in the final stages of putting a together a one-year deal” with the Watertown Municipal Arena to keep the team at their home.
This comes weeks after we at Bus League Hockey started publicly announcing that Watertown had reached a soft-agreement with the arena to bring the team back, per sources close to the league.
This has been a rocky off-season to say the least for the Wolves, who had concerns about keeping their home ice immediately after winning the Commissioner’s Cup. The WMA has considered a variety of alternative options on how to use its venue, many of which left the team without a home arena.
Per WWNY-TV in the Watertown region, the arena is closing in on multiple-lease agreements with the Wolves, the Watertown Minor Hockey Association, and the local figure skating team. The tentative lease would be at a $46,000/year rate.
“City officials are waiting for a couple of details from the [Wolves’] ownership, but say they are in the final stages of putting together a one-year deal,” said WWNY “That contract will go in front of the City Council in August.”
This is outstanding news obviously for the Wolves, but even more so for the Federal Hockey League, who after louder rumblings the last few weeks from doubters of expansion and even retention, received official word on a deal to bring the league to Elmira, New York (creating a long-awaited in-state rival for the Wolves) and now keep around one of its all-time most successful franchises on-ice.
Necessary credit must be given to the Wolves’ Front Office, who did a master-class job this off-season from a PR and marketing perspective. The team was out in the community, full-time staff members were selling merchandise, season tickets, and getting the team excited about the next season – which they hadn’t even been assured they’d be given. This is the type of positive-marketing that the league desperately needed, and the fans were never left in the dark from the organization.
The foundation of the FHL – Carolina, Port Huron, Danville, and Watertown – finally has its full four. The league has reached its biggest grab in history with Elmira. Now all that is needed is the Mentor situation to finally reach an agreement, announcement, and with that allow the league to release its anticipated 58-game schedule.
Keep up with Bus League Hockey as news continues to unfold.