The Wranglers have at least two more weeks to find a new place to play next season after the ECHL agreed to extend Wednesday’s deadline at its Board of Governors meeting in Philadelphia.
“(Team owner) Gary (Jacobs) felt confident in that time frame he would be able to get done what he needed to do,” ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said. “That’s the ballpark. A day or two one way or the other is not going to kill anything.”
Jacobs presented three possible undisclosed venues deemed acceptable by the league on Wednesday that Las Vegas could call home for 36 games in the 2014-15 season.
“They are still working on multiple opportunities, and that’s a good thing from our perspective,” McKenna said. “That left us with some optimism.”
Wranglers president Billy Johnson said the team hopes to have an agreement finalized by Jan. 31, the date of Las Vegas’ next home game at Orleans Arena.
“In the ideal situation, the fans will know going into that game that they’ll have a new place to go (next season),” Johnson said. “The fans deserve to have it solved. We’ll try to have it done by then.”
Johnson and McKenna declined to discuss details of possible venues so as not to jeopardize any possible deals.
McKenna said the ECHL prefers its teams play in venues with at least 5,000 seats.
“Typically we’re looking for 5,000-plus (seats) on a short-term (basis). Could we bend that a little bit? We probably could,” he said. “In terms of long term, you’re looking at needing a facility in the 5,000- to 7,000-seat range, in order to make it viable financially.”
Orleans Arena, the Wranglers’ home for the past 11 seasons, seats 7,773 for hockey. The team’s lease expires after this season, and it was notified in December that it won’t be renewed.
McKenna said he considers Las Vegas an integral part of the 22-team league and doesn’t want to lose it.
“For us, it’s certainly a marquee market,” he said. “They’ve developed a good following there, and it’s important for us, in terms of the Western Conference, to have a viable membership in Las Vegas.”
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.