Wicomico County To Pursue Minor League Hockey - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico County To Pursue Minor League Hockey

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First Arena in Elmira, NY. (Photo: WBOC) First Arena in Elmira, NY. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md. - Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver said Friday that minor league hockey at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury was first discussed about 13 years ago.  Friday, the first steps were taken to make that discussion become reality.

"Several years ago it was talked about hockey coming to Wicomico County.  Well, this is the first light of that day and it has finally come," Culver said.

At a press conference Friday morning, Culver introduced Jim Calpin, president of Paramount Sports Services.  Calpin's job will be to find the right fit for Wicomico County when it comes to a team and league.  Along with figuring out the various pieces of community and corporate involvement with the team.

"Looking at the community, looking at the demographic numbers, I feel that it would be a very, very good fit to have hockey here," Calpin said at the civic center on Friday.

Calpin said right now, he is looking at one of two potential leagues for Wicomico County.  First the SPHL, the Southern Professional Hockey League.  Second, the ECHL, which serves as a "Double-A" for the National Hockey League.  The ECHL is losing a team at the end of its current season, the Elmira Jackals. Calpin said it is possible that Wicomico County could fill that void, but also believes the SPHL could be a perfect fit.  Calpin stressed that it was very early in the process.

While Calpin works to figure out the hockey side of things, Wicomico County would have to spend some money at the civic center to not only build a permanent ice rink, but build locker rooms as well.  Culver said the team would play anywhere from 25 to 30 games at the civic center each season.  Between games and when the season is over, the County Executive said the rink would serve the community by hosting fundraisers and youth leagues that would also generate revenue for the county. Culver also stressed that Wicomico County would not own the team, just the facility.

Calpin said the plan is to sign a long-term agreement between the team and county and have the new team be a part of this community for a long time.

If everything goes according to plan, the ultimate goal is to have hockey at the civic center in the near future.

"Ideally, October 2018 - puck drop," Calpin said.

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