Roughriders To Stay in CR; Another Area Hockey Team To Fold
Tuesday brought great news and very bad news involving area hockey teams. First, the good news... involving the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.
The Roughriders and Cedar Rapids City Council have reached agreement on a new 15-year lease for the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, where the team's lease was set to expire at the end of the 2017-18 season.
According to a media release from the Roughriders, the 15-year lease includes "a built-in extension for an additional 20 years beyond that if the team invests at least one million dollars in improvements and upgrades to the arena." The new lease requires the city to replace the arena's seating, install party decks, and also add another concession stand.
In a media release from the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, team Co-President Doug Miller said,
The entire RoughRider organization is looking forward to building on all that has been accomplished in the first two decades in Cedar Rapids. We are already making plans for improvements across the board to create an even better experience for the fans, sponsors and players here in Cedar Rapids.
We would like to thank everyone involved in forging this agreement. We feel it is a positive for all involved, especially the fans, and gives us the foundation to be part of Cedar Rapids until 2032 and beyond!
The Roughriders have been in Cedar Rapids since the 1999-2000 season, having moved from Mason City.
To the east, hockey fans have a very different feeling today. After 23 years in Moline, Illinois, the Quad City Mallards will cease operations after the current season.
Mallards owner Jordan Melville told the Quad City Times,
I love the sport, I love everything about it but at some point, the passion for me has been lost. Not because of the market, not because of the team, not because of the league, just because of the way life worked out.
The health of Melville's good friend Darryl Porter, who was also heavily involved with the team, had a major impact on his decision. Porter, a pancreatic cancer survivor, has had a reoccurrence. Melville said it was the 'final thing.'
When we realized Darryl was no longer going to be able to help us at all. It was a business decision on a lot of levels ... but the emotional toll really made us ask ourselves if it was something we had the heart to continue.
We had to make that decision, the right decision for us, and for our business was to say we tried our best and don't feel like we can continue.
The Mallards are for sale, but Melville has never had an offer during his six years of ownership. He says he'll have to pay the ECHL $250,000 to void a 3-year extension he signed with the league three months ago.