Fresno Falcons Face Uncertainty

December 19, 2008 11:21:19 PM PST
Fresno Falcons fans say the anxiety is building as a deadline concerning the team's future approaches. There are concerns the Falcons could play their final games this weekend. The owners of the Fresno Falcons have until Monday to tell the East Coast Hockey League about their intentions for next season. And dwindling attendance numbers and financial troubles have the owners trying to find an exit strategy.When it comes to Fresno Falcons fans, the season ticket holders in section 8 could be considered fanatics. "You see the intensity, how people just push each other out of the way and then the fists go, and the crowd just goes crazy. That's what's beautiful about it," said fan Josh Chambers.

Season ticket holder Andrew Yardumian said his family has been coming to games for nearly a decade. "It's just part of our life. We live hockey and we look forward to every season," said Yardumian.

As fans cheered on their team Friday night, whether the Falcons beat the Stockton Thunder was the least of their worries. "How can we be in first place and be folding in two nights? The possibility, it doesn't make sense to me," said Chambers.

"Fresno Falcons have to stay. Have to stay. If I had the money, I would totally bail you guys out myself," said fan Shari Brown.

Fans are now hoping the city of Fresno will help keep the Falcons' season alive. Some of the discussed options would have the city taking over the franchise and running it for the remainder of the season or a permanent take over that would lead to the city running it as a non-profit.

As the clock ticks on the team's future, Falcons fans are urging others to show their support by attending Saturday's game and hoping they'll still have more games to attend in the future. One season ticket holder says he has tickets for three games next month in Idaho. "I'm flying there by myself, got a hotel connected to the arena and I'm gonna go watch those games. Just something I'm doing to reward myself for a good semester. So it would be nice to actually see hockey there as opposed to just sitting in my hotel room," said the season ticket holder, who only wanted to be identified as "Matt."

The Fresno Falcon's CEO, John Tull, says the team is working with the city of Fresno and the league to work out a solution. But Friday, the city manager declined to comment on those talks. The city does have a vested interest in keeping the team in Fresno. They just completed more than 10 million dollars in renovations to the Selland arena before the start of the season.

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