Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Chops Broiled in Iowa

One and done... to a crisp.

The American Hockey League has announced that the Iowa Chops -- rebranded to much fanfare one year ago today -- have been "involuntarily suspended" by the league based on an inability "to remedy certain violations of the provisions of the league’s Constitution and By-Laws." The Des Moines Register has more on the story...

"[AHL President and CEO Dave] Andrews declined to cite the specific violation, but the Des Moines Register reported last month that the club had used the franchise as collateral to obtain a loan in March 2008 from a North Carolina branch of Wachovia Bank. Records obtained from Polk County have disclosed the loan amounted to $1.99 million and was used to cover operating costs.Andrews has said such loans are not permitted under league rules."

The suspension ends any hope of a 2009-2010 Chops season in the AHL. Talk about your troubled franchises. They started operations as the Iowa Stars in 2005-2006 (transplanted from Louisville, where they were the "Panthers," an affiliate of the Florida Panthers). Since moving to Iowa, the Stars (which became the "Chops" this past year) have had affiliations with the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, and Anaheim Ducks, the last of these ending this past May. When the new name was announced last July, team owner Kirby Schlegel noted that the new name "perfectly represents our vision of the new team... It illustrates Iowa’s agricultural heritage while also playing into the definition of ‘chops’, having nerve, resilience and staying power." Staying power appears to be one year, absent any corrective measures to restore the franchise to normal business operations.

It makes a Caps fan (not to mention a Hershey Bears fan) thankful for the stability and tradition a couple of hours up the road.

Perhaps as a function of the Iowa situation, the AHL is realigning its divisions. The new alignment has this look...

According to the AHL, Hershey will play the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12 times in the 2009-2010 season. Familiarity, as they say, breeds contempt.

1 comment:

Dougeb said...

I'm originally from Des Moines. The town supports, fairly well, a USHL team that's been firmly in place for years.

Attendance was spotty for the Chops, in spite of a brand new arena.

An AHL franchise in Minnesota would sell quite nicely, I think.