EVANSVILLE, IN – It is D-Day for the Evansville IceMen. One way or another, fans will get a resolution to the lease saga today. The ECHL has said there will be no more extensions for the IceMen and the City of Evansville to work out an agreement.

Rather than having tons of articles on the situation, we will live blog the day for you.

10:50 AM CT – The Sin Bin’s Mike Finazzo spoke with Mayor Lloyd Winnecke to get his thoughts and the latest on the situation:

Also, Matthew Harding will be speaking with ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna in the next hour, so look for that audio very soon.

11:25 AM CT – Finazzo spoke with Joe Langerak, attorney for the Evansville IceMen, and got the team’s view of the situation at late morning:

12:00 PM CT – In an interview with Matthew Harding, ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna says the situation in Evansville is “fluid and there continues to be dialogue.” McKenna also opened the door to some wiggle room on the deadline, should negotiations prove to be fruitful.

1:45 PM CT – Evansville’s Eyewitness News reports the Icemen has submitted a counter proposal to the City. Here are some of the key components:

  • The current lease is extended one year, with one year extension and three year extension options for the tenant.
  • Rent is reduced to $7,500 per game
  • IceMen are permitted 1000 comp tickets per game for all exhibition, regular season and playoff games
  • The IceMen receive naming rights to the rink.

Both sides have said they remain far apart on an agreement.

4:30 PM CT- There has been no new information on the negotiations, however, the Mayor’s office released this video clarifying some points of the negotiations:

The Sin Bin’s Mike Finazzo (@SinBinIceMen) remains in close contact with key players on both sides of the negotiations and will have any kind of response when it is available.

5:18 PM CT – There is an impasse in negotiations. This from Mayor Lloyd Winnecke:

IceMen owner Ron Geary will appear on Eyewitness News in Evansville with Brad Byrd at 9pm this evening. The Sin Bin will have video of that announcement when it comes down.

6:30 PM CT – The Sin Bin’s Mike Finazzo spoke with Mayor Winnecke about the latest developments in negotiations. Here is their conversation:

9:10 PM CT – IceMen owner Ron Geary tells WTVW/WEHT-TV that “the franchise is in jeopardy” and the sides remain “so far” apart. He tells Brad Byrd he does not want to leave Evansville and says an ultimate resolution may not come down until the league meeting in Kalamazoo, MI in February. He wants the team to stay in Evansville, but if he feels like he is being forced out, then he will pull the team.

 

12:30 PM CT Thursday – Shortly after the interview with Ron Geary, Brad Byrd interviewed Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke to get his reaction. You can watch that interview, here: https://www.tristatehomepage.com/news/local-news/mayor-lloyd-winnecke-responds-to-icemen-negotiations.

3:00 PM CT Thursday – Mayor Lloyd Winnecke held a press conference, where he presented the IceMen with three options moving forward.  Here they are in a series of tweets:

5:10 PM CT Thursday – The IceMen responded to the Mayor’s remarks, here is the response in its entirety.

“On Wednesday, the City provided its best offer on what it is financially willing to do for a new lease. The City said it was up to the IceMen whether or not to accept the City’s proposal. “Not only is the offer far short of what we hoped for, their best offer is actually worse than the current lease. We have been telling the City since February 2015 that we need a better lease. If that is the best the City can offer us there is simply no way we can accept it,” said Geary. 

It is the IceMen’s understanding that the City cannot move any further on the financial conditions of the lease terms. The City and the IceMen are several hundred thousand dollars apart on the deal. “The IceMen have been trying to find new ways to bring value to both sides in order to bridge the gap. We have done that by presenting new concepts to the City, including rink naming rights and new ways to bring more bodies into the arena which increases the City’s food and beverage revenue. If the IceMen hadn’t done that, we felt the gap would be insurmountable. It appears those efforts were just not enough,” said Geary. The IceMen will continue to try and find ways to make a lease possible in Evansville, and will explore all avenues to keep the IceMen in this area.

“As I have said before, I’m happy to have invested in the team and in the City, but after spending millions with no return we need a lease that is fair and does not take advantage of us,” said Geary. “I think we have the best fans in the league. I think that is the result of our organization developing a great game day experience. If we can continue that experience in the Ford Center it would be a best case scenario,” Geary added. 

 

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