Storm owner requests voluntary suspension from leagueWritten by Justin R. Kalmes | | email@example.com
Toledo could be without professional hockey this fall for
the first time in 16 years.
In a Feb. 28 letter to ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna,
Toledo Storm owner Tim Gladieux submitted an application for voluntary
suspension for the 2007-08 season. If accepted by the league’s board of
governors, the suspension of play would be the first for the minor league
hockey franchise since it was founded in 1991 by then-owner and current team
president Barry Soskin.
Jack Carnefix, an ECHL spokesman, confirmed the league’s
board of governors would address Gladieux’s voluntary suspension request at its
April 4 special meeting in Pittsburgh.
The news follows reports last week that Gladieux is in
negotiations to sell the Storm to the Toledo Mud Hens organization. Soskin said
then he was unsure if this would be the Storm’s last season at the Toledo
Gladieux did not return calls seeking comment for this
Carnefix said teams request a voluntary suspension to
protect their league memberships when they are looking to relocate or cease
operations, among other things. He said teams typically make the request of the
league’s board of governors only after they have looked into all their options.
“It’s usually the option they have,” Carnefix said. “If
they’re unable to play, then they would ask for the voluntary suspension.”
Carnefix said voluntary suspensions typically last for one
year and can be extended with the approval of the ECHL board. The board is
comprised of one member from each of the ECHL’s 25 teams, he said.
Though Soskin said he couldn’t speak on Gladieux’s behalf,
he suspected the suspension request related to Gladieux’s negotiations to sell
the Storm. Soskin said he learned Gladieux had made the request March 8.
Brian Schwartz, spokesman for Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner,
said he was not aware of Gladieux’s request to the ECHL. He said the city would
continue to assist the Storm’s ownership if it wished to continue play in
“We’re going to work with the Storm to get them what they
need to play hockey if they want to continue to play hockey in Toledo,”
The mayor’s office said last week it would delay razing the
Toledo Sports Arena if it meant another uninterrupted season of Storm hockey.
Schwartz said no date has been set as to when the city will demolish the arena
to make way for its Marina District waterfront development.
Read more in later editions of Toledo Free Press and