This has the potential to have a tremendous impact on the Reign. As coach Karl Taylor said himself, “this changes everything.”
The ECHL sent out this press release earlier today:
The ECHL announced Monday that the Board of Governors had voted unanimously to terminate the Membership of the Fresno Falcons, effective immediately. The termination of the Membership comes as a result of the Fresno ownership group notifying the ECHL that they are unable to continue to operate the Membership for financial reasons. Failure to ice a team for play is grounds for automatic termination under the ECHL Bylaws.
“We are very disappointed for our fans, league partners and the other member teams,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “The ECHL would like to thank the Fresno fans for their support of the Falcons.”
Fresno players will immediately become unrestricted free agents. Bakersfield is working on an exhibition game for Saturday to replace the game scheduled against Fresno and will announce details as soon as they become available.
Fresno’s games against Ontario on Sunday and Victoria on Monday have been cancelled. The league said that work has begun on a revised version of the playing schedule which will be released as soon as possible.
More from coach Taylor:
“Extreme disappointment. It’s not a very good situation. Secondly, a lot of compassion for the coach, staff, everyone that workds there. I feel really bad for the players, the coaching staff and training staff.”
What impact will this have on the Reign?
“I don’t know yet. It’s five hours old. Their players become free agents and the schedule’s going to change. It’s too early to say anything. The biggest impact is, all of a sudden there’s 20 free agents that affect the balance of the league. We worked very hard to recruit our team. All of a sudden this changes everything. Those players can go anywhere they want. They’re trying to spend Christmas with their families, that’s what they need to concentrate on.”
From executive VP of business operations Justin Kemp:
Obviously it’s disappointing. It’s not good for the league. To lose a team for the second time in midseason but separately, Fresno being in our division, it does have some impact on our schedule, which we’ll be working over the next week to try and make up for those games. Hopefully it’ll be a minimal impact.
“The initial impact, we had a game scheduled Sunday at Fresno which wil be cancelled. After that it’s tough to say. Two additional home games, January 23 and March 18. Those would likely be lost dates. We’ll know a little more here in the coming week once all the arena availabilities have been given to the league. It will probably require some additional travel dates. We’ll certainly change some things. All things considered, being in the same division, we’ll be in better shape because we only had three (more) games against them.”
Will this affect any promotions/giveaways?
No. We had one large group night that we’ve been selling Jan. 23, which is one of those. There’s nothing we’ll do for sure to the schedule if there’s going to be changes to that. Those weekend dates are hard to fill someone else in because everyone’s playing on the weekends. Typically you lose that Friday or Saturday date. We’ll wait until we know before we call anyone or change anything.”
More in tomorrow’s editions.