Every heard of the SPHL? Well now you have. Long story short, it's an unaffiliated professional hockey league primarily in the southeast and parts of the mid-west. Basically, this is a league where guys that just love to play are clinging to the dream OR enjoying themselves while they are in still in shape and feel competitive. These are the guys that truly love the sport.
You can read more about the league on their website or on the Wiki page.
Anyway - the story. Pretty bizarre. A HOME team that had a bunch of noted problems ended up not showing up to their game at all the other day.
What a racket - I mean the away team takes the time to bus to the game, get dressed, the arena doors open, the workers are there, the refs are there, the medical staff is there. Only thing missing is....the HOME team. I guess the story is that the franchise itself is in deep trouble financially. Employees were fired or quit, and the players weren't getting paid the little cash they deserved, so they ultimately decided they weren't gonna show. Things haven't gone smooth for the team in recent years judging by this tweet:
To top it all off - this was supposed to be Vermillion's "Skate With The Fans" night where they hung out after the game. That's kind of hard to do when the team never shows up at all. Maybe the best part of this whole story is the reaction from the Quad City club. They ultimately decided to stay and hang out with fans of the opposing team to make good on the promotion even though they didn't have to. Class act stuff there!
There's lots of info swirling about the fallout, but it looks as though the franchise has folded and will cease operations. Ultimately its a headache for the league and the remaining teams, who will now have to reconfigure a season on the fly without them.
This isn't the first bizarre story about minor league hockey and certainly wont be the last - but I can't say I've ever seen a team vanish overnight before either....WILD!