ROME, NY (WKTV) - The following is a statement released by Wayne Premeo, owner of the Rome Copper City Chiefs:
After several weeks and many hours of meetings, phone calls, and e-mails, as owner of the Rome Copper City Chiefs it comes with great sorrow that I have decided to cease operations and withdraw the Chiefs from the newly formed Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL).
After failing to come to terms with the league owners I received a final e-mail from EPHL President Tim Kolpien on Tuesday evening saying " I'm sorry things didn't work out with Rome and maybe we will have the opportunity to work together again down the road". This is when we notified all our players by e-mail that we had under contract or invited to our training camp later in October. Actually Coach Mike Beavis called several of the players we had under contract to explain the situation.
Several issues played a key factor in my decision. The economy continues to get worse everyday. When it becomes a choice to heat your house and feed your family there is no question that we would all do that over buying tickets to a hockey game. Therefore the support was lacking in the community.
Over the last few weeks there became issues at the Kennedy Arena. No permanent secured locker room, moving of game times, questions about not being able to obtain a beer license to be used at our games only after being told earlier that there would be no problem with this. This was only an issue because it had been figured as an income to help support the team.
As far as the league there was a growing lack of trust on both sides. A $50,000 franchise fee and $30,000 in yearly dues, along with housing, busing, uniforms, equipment, and ice rental makes it next to impossible to operate without selling out at all home games. I never received the tryout jerseys that I ordered through a league owner and paid for them in full. I also paid for the web site to be designed and was locked out of our own site with no one willing to answer questions. I have been advised that the EPHL commissioner Jim Riggs will be in Rome at the end of the week to meet and see if anything can be done, evidently the President and Commissioner do not communicate.
After our e-mail to all players there was a follow up e-mail by Commissioner Riggs to the same players saying to disregard the e-mail from the team Coach and owner, that there was work still being done, to try and save the Chiefs. As owner I can say that there is no work that can be done at this time to save the Chiefs. I have lost money the past three years in two single A hockey leagues and I believe it is time to move on.
I sincerely want to thank the wonderful people involved with the team, that were always so eager to help. I also apologize to the great bunch of guys who stood by me last season and all the players that were more than ready to help build this team lead by Coach Mike Beavis this season.