The relative calm of the Laredo Bucks’ offseason is about to be spoiled by turbulent waters.
The Bucks’ ticket office stopped selling tickets for the 2012-13 hockey season last week.
According to a member of the ticket office, there is a “possibility of no season” next year.
“From what I’m hearing, they want to make a decision and make sure, when they move forward on next season, there actually is going to be a next season,” said Laredo Energy Arena general manager Xavier Villalon. “We’re anticipating some official announcement soon.”
The representative of the ticket office said if the team decides to return for another season, tickets will be back on sale Wednesday or Thursday.
Whatever the outcome, an announcement is expected to be made this week, possibly as soon as today.
Rumors have indicated the Bucks might be forced out of the arena by the City of Laredo and SMG, a company that manages the arena.
But Villalon, who manages the arena on SMG’s behalf, said that isn’t the case.
“We’ve worked with them to create a sustainable business model to give them longevity here,” he said. “From what I understand, we were going down the right path, (but) something that happens internally amongst them — if they decide to switch gears and do something else — we’ll have to conform to that and really think about what we’ll put here and what will work.
“I think the Bucks will comment on what kind of season they had in reference to a fan base, but, you know, we’d like to see them come back and have a successful, sustainable year.”
Speculation that a new lease will force the Bucks is also off-base, said Villalon.
The Bucks’ current lease is a relatively new document, just rewritten last year.
If the Bucks leave, Villalon said it won’t be because a new contract squeezed them out.
“When I came in last year, we negotiated a contract with them and we really sat down together to make as sustainable (as possible) for them,” Villalon said. “That is out of the way. This is more of an internal business decision on the Bucks.”
Several calls to members of the Bucks’ organization weren’t returned as of late Monday.
On April 24, Glenn Hart, Bucks former majority owner-turned-minority owner, said it was “not true” that the team might not be back for next season. However, what wasn’t true last week might be true by the end of this week.
The rest of this story can be found in Tuesday’s edition of the Laredo Morning Times.