Do you own or manage a building in Las Vegas that can hold a hockey rink and at least 2,500 seats?
If you do, Billy Johnson would like to chat.
Johnson, president of the minor league Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team, said Thursday he is scrambling to find a temporary venue — or venues — for 36 home games in the 2014-15 season after Boyd Gaming Corp. declined to renew the team’s lease at Orleans Arena.
Boyd officials told Johnson on Dec. 6 that the lease would not be extended. The Wranglers have played in Las Vegas for 11 seasons.
Johnson, known for his creative promotional ploys to sell tickets, said he is thinking outside the box to sign up at least one transitional facility before Jan. 20, the deadline to submit home dates to the ECHL.
Johnson said he is considering enlisting more than one venue to host the 36 home dates, acknowledging that the temporary hockey venue or venues “won’t have the bells and whistles” of a regular hockey arena.
“The trick in this is that once we have find a transitional facility it re-sets the clock for a permanent location,” Johnson said. “We’re optimistic we can pull this off … whatever form it will take.”
Johnson said he was told by Boyd officials that the reason the gaming company did not extend the lease was that, “Financially, we did not work for them.”
Boyd in a statement said, “We are in the final season under the Las Vegas Wranglers’ current agreement with the Orleans Arena. Unfortunately, after several months of discussions, we have been unable to agree to terms for a renewal that would keep the team at the Arena after this season. We have greatly enjoyed our relationship with the Wranglers, and we wish them every success in the future.”
The Wranglers play in the ECHL, a Double-A league with 22 teams scattered across the country from Florida to California. The team is owned by Gary Jacobs of San Diego, managing director of Jacobs Investment Co. LLC. JIC was created in 1997 and is involved in real estate development, private and public equity and venture funds primarily in the U.S.
Johnson said the Wranglers organization will try its best to find a new home in Las Vegas.
“We love this town. It’s an amazing city to represent,” he said.
Contact Alan Snel at email@example.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @bicyclemansnel on Twitter.