Proponents of the plan for MetroCentre to buy the Rockford IceHogs and move the team into the American Hockey League say it will give fans a higher, more competitive level of hockey to cheer for. But some fans aren't ready to move on.
A renovated stadium, a step up into a more competitive league and stronger, faster better players, sounds pretty good. But the new plan doesn't have everyone cheering.
IceHogs Fan Vicki Lawson says, "I don't like it, I'm not happy with it at all. We didn't want to lose Martenson for one. They've just got such a good fan base right now and I'm worried they're gonna ruin it for themselves."
Most die hard fans' main objection is that the players won't get to stick around on the new team.
Says Hogs fan Dan Fox, "It's gonna be different with the different players and the coaches. It's gonna be hard to get used to, we've been coming for a few years so we know all the players."
But amid the boos, some say they are fan enough to support any team that comes to Rockford.
"To move up a level, to be affiliated to Chicago, to make the changes to the MetroCentre, which are long overdue, it'd just be great for the community," says season ticket-holder Tom Spurlock.
The general manager of Centre Events says without the proposed renovations, it will be too expensive to keep the deteriorating stadium open. That is a fan's biggest fear.
"Primarily, as long as I can still come and watch hockey here, I'm happy," says fan Phil Schibona.
For now fans will just have to wait and see if the city, county and all parties involved clear the way for the new IceHogs.
A public vote to approve the sale of the $23 million in bonds to pay for the plan is not required. So fans don't have much say in whether the new IceHogs will start skating in the 2007-2008 season.