If you remember, last year Casper, Wyoming made an attempt to acquire a CHL franchise but the ownership group could not raise the necessary funds. I found this article written by Kelly Byer who is a staff writer for the Star-Tribune. Sounds like there is some ongoing interest in pursuing a CHL franchise.
Former state legislator and U.S. Rep. John Wold has offered $1 million to help facilitate hockey in the Casper Events Center.
Wold’s goal is to do his part in fostering growing interest in professional hockey.
donation would cover about half of the estimated $2.2 million needed
for a sheet of ice, dasher boards and other equipment.
His gift is
contingent on four conditions the city must meet by Dec. 31: He wants
to approve the franchise and lease agreement with the hockey team, ice
floor budget, engineering plans and any additional funding, according to
The Casper City Council is scheduled to vote on
whether to accept Wold’s donation and his conditions during today’s
The 97-year-old Wold played hockey at New York’s
Union College in the late 1930s. He said the game hasn’t changed much,
but the fan base has.
“There wasn’t the national hockey fever that
you have today,” he said. “Here is a rising interest, both in
educational hockey teams from schools but also semi-professional and
The venture would be almost completely
funded by hockey “enthusiasts,” who Wold said seek to capitalize on the
Events Center facilities.
“We are blessed with the setup,” he said. “The physical setup at the start.”
group of private investors attempted to acquire a Central Hockey League
team and update the Events Center in time for the 2013-14 season, but
they failed to raise enough money by spring deadlines. The investors
will now attempt to solicit players from outside the state to form a
team by the 2014-15 season.
The CHL is roughly comparable to
baseball’s AA level in the hierarchy of minor league hockey. The closest
franchises to Casper are the Rapid City Rush and Denver Cutthroats.
Players participate in about 40 home games each season, which begins in
October and ends in March.
City Manager John Patterson has said
the installation of an ice sheet should take fewer than 90 days, and it
would stay on the floor eight months a year. A 1-inch-thick board would
be placed over the ice to host concerts and other events.
Casper Ice Arena, located at the Casper Recreation Center, is currently
the only rink in Casper. It plays host to amateur hockey, figure skating
Jolene Whitley is president of the Casper Oilers
Amateur Hockey Club. Whitley said a professional team would raise
interest in the sport and provide learning opportunities for the youth
league. The club, which has been in Casper since 1969, would likely
explore mentorship programs or coaching clinics for its young players.
is one of our goals, is to keep the organization growing,” she said.
“The professional league here, I think, would be a huge benefit for
Whitley said youth hockey members could also entertain the
audience during halftime shows to build a mutual relationship with the
professional league. The amateur league consists of 200 members between
the ages of 4 and 19; the 4- to 8-year-old age group is the largest with
“Hockey’s a great sport for kids,” Whitley said. “We’re not just building hockey, we’re building teamwork.”
said many amateur members and their parents have supported the idea of a
professional team in Casper because of the potential benefit to youth