Long Beach Ice Dogs


Long Beach Ice Dogs

The Long Beach Ice Dogs were a professional ice hockey team in the ECHL. They had suspended operations at the end of the 2006–2007 season.

The Ice Dogs trace their origins to the San Diego Gulls, a team in the now-defunct International Hockey League that began play in 1990. In 1995, the team moved north to become the Los Angeles Ice Dogs. Due to poor attendance at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the team was on the move again after just one season, this time to Long Beach, California, where it retained the "Ice Dogs" name. In 2000, Barry Kemp, the television executive who had become the team's owner, withdrew the team from the IHL and moved it to the West Coast Hockey League, where it remained until the league was folded in 2003 by the member clubs, which were then admitted into the ECHL at the behest of owners who had interests in both leagues. Kemp had sensed, correctly, that the WCHL was about to fold.

The team played at the Long Beach Sports Arena, just one hundred yards from Long Beach Harbor. In 2005, it was forced to play first-round ECHL playoff games in the HealthSouth Training Center, owned by the Los Angeles Kings, when the Long Beach facilities were being used as garage space for the Champ Car Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach during the ECHL playoffs.

In the summer of 2006, Kemp sold the Ice Dogs to a new investment group led by Chicago businessman Ted Foxman. ["Press-Telegram", June 18, 2006, page D1] The new ownership group plans to keep the team in Long Beach. The future of the team there has been uncertain because the Ice Dogs typically have the lowest average attendance in the ECHL. The owners also plan to promote boxing cards at the Long Beach Arena.

On October 20, 2006, the Ice Dogs reached an affiliate agreement with the NHL's Boston Bruins [Hockey's Future Magazine [http://hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=9150&mode=threaded&order=0] ] .

uspension of operations

On April 20, 2007, the ECHL announced the suspension of the team's operations, citing an item from the league's recent board of governors' meeting: "Long Beach owner (executive partner) Ted Foxman informed the Board that the Ice Dogs would not play in Long Beach Arena in 2007–08." The ECHL added that the team's status would be clarified at the league's next meetings in June. [MLN - The Raw Feed [http://mlntherawfeed.squarespace.com/minor-league-sports-business/2007/4/23/long-beach-ice-dogs-future-fielded-at-june-echl-governors-meeting.html] ]

Team co-owner Steven Bash told the "Press-Telegram" that the team was simply losing too much money for it to continue operations. Although there was an outside chance that the team could operate next year in a different city, this is not considered to be very likely.

Bash added that the Ice Dogs were negotiating a buyout of the remaining five years of their lease with Spectacor Management Group, which operates the Long Beach Arena. If the team folds, a dispersal draft would be scheduled within weeks for the players still under contract to the Ice Dogs.

As for Kemp, he is expected to be awarded an expansion franchise, to play in Ontario, California, starting in 2008. ["Long Beach Press-Telegram", April 23, 2007 [http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_5719145] ]

On June 18, 2007, during the ECHL Board of Governors Annual Meeting, the Ice Dogs membership in the ECHL was immediately terminated due to the Long Beach ownership group being unable to continue to operate in 2007–08. [ECHL.com [http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news&id=11279] ]

Notes

*Popular NHL goaltenders Manny Legace of the St. Louis Blues and Nikolai Khabibulin of the Chicago Blackhawks played for the Long Beach Ice Dogs during their pro careers. Jaroslav Modry, Mark Hardy, Jaroslav Halák, Domenic Pittis, and Patrik Augusta also spent some time with the Long Beach Ice Dogs.
*At the time the team folded, it was the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins of the NHL, after spending the previous several years as an affiliate of both the Montreal Canadiens and the Dallas Stars.
*For two seasons the concrete beneath the ice at the Long Beach Arena was a light blue color, stemming from a previous sponsorship with the airline JetBlue. Because of this the blue lines on the ice were actually painted yellow, but were also marked by blue lines on the dasher boards. In addition, the creases in front of the goals were white instead of the typical light blue, since the rest of the rink was light blue. After the airline left as a sponsor team officials decided to leave the ice blue because it reflected less light than the normal white concrete during television broadcasts. The arena's ice has since been returned to the typical white color.

References

External links

* [http://www.icedogs.com/ Official Long Beach Ice Dogs website]


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