In a stunning development posted to the team’s Facebook page Monday morning, the Watertown Wolves were pretty straight-forward in announcing that things were not going well, or going at all, in their current attempts to negotiate a new lease for next season.
Here is the entire post:
It’s a big shock because as far as we and sources around the league knew, every team was in good standing to come back for the 2019-20 season, and the schedule was being made for nine teams, with the yet-to-be-announced Delaware Thunder as the only wild card, at least prior to the FHL meetings.
Watertown and the Watertown Arena have hosted a FPHL since 2013 when the 1000 Islands Prviateers moved to the arena, becoming the Watertown Privateers, before rebranding as the Watertown Wolves. Since then, the team took one season off for renovations to the arena, and has captured two Commissioner’s Cup titles, in 2015 and 2018.
Now, it’s important to remember that last year things did not go well early on between the team and the rink before a deal saving the team around $6,500 was settled on.
It appeared as if the team re-upping brought a lot of benefits to the rink, as the Wolves averaged 964 fans a night, the highest number in Watertown history and a 266 fan per night increase over last season. Not only that, but the increased ticket sales led to an increase at the arena concession stands, with the Watertown newspaper reporting that it helped them make around $55,000 over the last year.
Needless to say, with a lease in the area of $40,000 and a concession stand bringing in $55,000, it would be massive loss in revenue for the rink if a deal can’t be reached.
It would also be a massive blow to the FPHL, and create all sorts of messes.
First, it potentially means the loss of its second-longest tenured team, by city played in trailing only Danville, and creates a huge void on the schedule that will likely need to be redone if a deal can’t be reached.
It would also create a ton of travel issues, as Watertown is most likely the travel/rivalry partner for Elmira, the nearest opponent to Watertown.
Finally, it would throw the rumored divisional format that the FPHL was hoping to switch to into chaos. Before it was rumored that the East would be Danbury, Watertown, Elmira, Delaware, with the West being Carolina, Mentor, Columbus, Port Huron, and Danville. Should Watertown leave, the easiest solution may be to slide Mentor over, even if it means the divisions make no sense from a geographic standpoint.
Again, there is a lot of time left, but the telling part of that statement above is how the FPHL won’t make a schedule if teams don’t have a lease.
You certainly hope that the team and the city can figure something out before it’s too late, for the fans, the rink, the people who work for the team, and the FPHL as well.
We will certainly keep a close eye on this situation and bring you more updates as things develop.