The rumor mill has been churning out filth for years. I’m not talking about my sports market or yours, but the hypothetical one that exists in every 300,000+ city where sports is even slightly on the radar. I suppose that the economics of it all demand that owners look throughout the world to find sporting endeavors that spew money from a fire hydrant. I mean, there must be good money in sports franchising because these things exist. And where there is a slim chance of sports happenings, there is always a rumor of an owner or a team or the potential hope of both.
After my discussion with Brad Lund there was serious consideration being given to the return of hockey in Oklahoma City. Most likely not AHL, but a compromise of sorts in the ECHL. With a timetable not set we anxiously awaited for news in December and now into January. Lund has successfully partnered with Rayo Vallecano of the Spanish La Liga (soccer, for those curious) to manage Rayo OKC stateside in the NASL. For those curious, Prodigal LLC, former managing entity of the Oklahoma City Barons, has a soccer team of their own. That squad plays in the USL. A quick glance at the scorecard reveals two minor soccer teams playing in the same city. That is a good thing. More on that another day.
With the turn towards Rayo OKC becoming successful for Lund, there is likely a cooling to the sizzle of a new pro hockey franchise — at least from this one potential investor/manager.
That brings us back to the rumors.
For months there have been ongoing rumors that the Dallas Stars are still interested in moving their ECHL franchise tag from the successful reaches of the Idaho Steelheads to the plains of Oklahoma. I have discussed this at length before, and even kept tabs on the extension filed by Dallas in 2015. The hope is that news comes quickly so that a team can be operational by the beginning of the 2016-17 season. That window is usually January or early February of the current seasons cycle.
The ECHL mid-season BOG meetings are upcoming, and at the last installment they provided wiggle room for the addition of at least two more teams (currently at 29, but wanting 30). And there still remains a hole in the divisional alignments where a team north of the Red River, but south of Stillwater could softly land.
The rumors are still rumors. Nothing is concrete except death, taxes, and Vine-able Presidential Debates. So we will continue to wait on news in the next two weeks that might give us something to be excited about.