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CHARLOTTE INVESTORS WANT HIGHER LEVEL HOCKEY AT COLISEUM
Published February 22, 1995
ECHL Charlotte Checkers Owner Felix Sabates and Managing General Partner Carl Scheer said that they are interested in owning an NHL, IHL or AHL team that would play hockey in the Charlotte Coliseum. The Checkers average 7,900 fans per game playing in Independence Arena, second highest in the developmental ECHL. Sabates and Scheer think hockey at a higher level would fill even more seats. Scheer: "Our intention is to play hockey in Charlotte this year, next year and 10 years from now. ... If the Charlotte Coliseum is for sale we'd like to be in the discussions." Sabates and Scheer say "numerous recent inquiries" to purchase the coliseum from the city "forced their hand." The city's coliseum authority and the Hornets are negotiating a new lease that could bring improvements for the facility -- including an ice surface. According to Scheer, he's had "several recent conversations" with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about putting a team in Charlotte. But Sabates also "seemed enthused" about landing an IHL or AHL team for the Coliseum, predicting the team could draw 15,000-18,000 fans per game: "We'll approach it from a business sense. An IHL or AHL team may draw as many fans as an NHL team, but with lower ticket prices" (Cliff Mehrtens, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/22).