IceHogs Negotiations Hit Snag

By: Mark Lindner
By: Mark Lindner

"We've had agreements. We have a moving target with them," says MetroCentre general manager Corey Pearson.

"We want to sit down and let each side be heard and see if there's some kind of middle ground." counters IceHogs general manager Ryan Washatka.

What was once a promising deal between the current IceHogs owners and Centre Events has stalled over a familiar bargaining chip...money.

"The price has only gone one way and its been the wrong way. Its continued to go up," Pearson says.

"The numbers that have been put in front of the authority board in their eyes is not even close to what the team is worth," counters Washatka.

MetroCentre general manager Corey Pearson says the two sides agreed on a price for the IceHogs last month, $500,000. The deal would bring the top affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks to Rockford.

"But now all that has gone out the window," Pearson says.

But Washatka says too much of that money was tied up in future considerations.

"It had a small guarantee with the opportunities to get to $1 million or around that number based on the success of the American Hockey League franchise. We'd like to see more of that if not all of that guaranteed with maybe a payout over ten years," Washatka says.

Still, Pearson says he's determined not to let the stalled negotiations ruin his dream of a renovated MetroCentre.

"I'm gonna pull together as much as I can, make a recommendation as to where we should go and we'll see where we end up," Pearson says.

But in order to move to the AHL, Centre Events must purchase an existing franchise, and Pearson says this would mean major improvements.

"You're gonna have the name recognition of the players coming back year after year," he says.

While an agreement is yet to be made, both sides say they share a common goal.

"They want to play hockey and they want to play hockey in the MetroCentre," Washatka says.

23 News spoke with 3rd Ward Ald. Doug Mark earlier today. He tells us the City of Rockford's planning and development department has plans to discuss the MetroCentre renovation plan which could could come before the city council as early as tomorrow night.


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