River Rats owner Walter L. Robb, here at the Skate With The Rats event in January, sold the team to Charlotte-based MAK Hockey, which is operated by Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) owner Michael Kahn. The team will relocate to Charlotte. Photo by Sandpiper214
From the Albany River Rats:
CAPITAL DISTRICT SPORTS ANNOUNCES RIVER RATS SALE AHL Franchise Sold To MAK Hockey, LLC Albany N.Y. – Capital District Sports, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, the Albany River Rats, has sold its American Hockey League franchise to MAK Hockey, LLC located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The sale will not affect the remainder of the 2009-10 season, with regular season games concluding on April 10 followed by the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs.
"My intention throughout this process has been to have an AHL franchise playing in the Capital District," said Owner Walter L. Robb. "I still believe that can occur and remain optimistic AHL hockey will be in Albany next season. There have been constant negotiations with local officials, arena and county personnel, along with potential investors, a process we expect to continue beyond today’s announcement."
Michael Kahn is the principle owner of MAK Hockey, LLC, which owns and operates the Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League. The franchise will move to North Carolina to begin play as an AHL member club at Time Warner Cable Arena (6,800 with additional seating available to be opened upstairs) for the 2010-11 regular season.
"I would like to first thank all of our season ticket holders for their unwavering support through not only the first place finishes, but through the tough times as well. The team would also like to acknowledge all the parents of our youth hockey skaters, our group leaders, corporate sponsors, and fans in general that have supported the River Rats for nearly two decades," Robb added. "We have had great partners in Albany County, SMG and Aramark that have provided a better quality of life for many Capital Region residents through our community events and home games."
"The River Rats have become part of the fabric of the Capital Region from our 1995 Calder Cup Championship, to the countless "Rowdy" appearances and I am proud to have provided consistent local ownership," commented Robb. "My goal, and the goal of all interested parties, is to keep AHL Hockey at the Times Union Center and in the Capital District. That process remains ongoing with options being pursued at all levels of management."
"We are proud to have entertained over 2,000,000 hockey fans in the region at our games and look forward to completing what has proven to be a very successful 2009-10 season on the ice," he concluded. "The players have put together the best record Albany has seen in a decade and we have the support of the Carolina Hurricanes, who are optimistic that we will remain well-stocked with quality players as the Calder Cup Playoffs approach."