Hockey league search by civic center suffers setback
By Mark Berman, The Roanoke Times
Civic center General Manager Robyn Schon said she is no longer interested in the prospective league.
Schon and NPHL Commissioner Chuck Harrison each said this week that the civic center ended talks with the would-be league in the spring because no cities have yet committed to the NPHL.
"They were interested if other teams came in first," Harrison said. "Well, somebody has to be first. At that time, Roanoke was a big deal to us. Since then, I've found out that the league can exist without Roanoke. Do we want Roanoke? Absolutely. Is it going to happen? I have no clue."
"It's very, very risky to be the first team to sign up in a brand-new league," Schon said. "That's a risk we didn't want to take."
The civic center also cooled on the NPHL because the prospective Roanoke majority owner "started to get nervous" about the league, said Harrison.
The NPHL had hoped to debut for the 2012-13 hockey season with six to eight teams, but no cities have committed. Harrison said that "unless something dramatic happens in the next 30 days," the league will scrap its original goal and instead try to debut for the 2013-14 hockey season.
"We spent too much time in Roanoke," Harrison said. "Our feeling was at the time, once Roanoke comes on board, everybody else will."
Harrison said he will contact the Roanoke Civic Center when other cities come aboard to see if the civic center wants to resume talks.
But Schon said that even if other cities sign up, she would not want to resume talks with the NPHL.
"It's a matter of credibility," Schon said. "The substance that we're looking for isn't there.
"We want an established league."