Especially when one key player, off the ice, is changing his stance on MetroCentre plans. Dr. Kris Tumilowicz stated to the County Board, "If it becomes the UHL or AHL we will still have hockey in Rockford. It's going to be great."
Most in this crowd never thought Dr. T would ask the Winnebago County Board to change it's December 28th decision. At that time the board said Winnebago County, the City of Rockford nor the MetroCentre had the right to own a hockey team. County Board Member Mary Ann Aiello says, “I think this is a surprise to everybody including the fans in the audience."
And the twists and turns just kept coming. Gary Marzorati with the MetroCentre Authority Board states, "We are ecstatic that we have come to an agreement. We have signed something that we will negotiate in good faith."
Dr. T and MetroCentre officials is exploring a public/private partnership. At this point the MetroCentre might buy a piece of the IceHogs or merge the IceHogs with an AHL team.
Dr. T states, "We'll work something out where I can retain ownership, lease it to me or be a part owner." But according to UHL President Richard Brosal says Dr. T would face a 6-figure fine. Brosal went on to say, "I'm disappointed for Kris because he has been scared into this. It’s all based on the fact of whether or not he can survive in this community."
One factor still left unknown is what IceHogs Co-Owner Craig Drecktrah thinks. If he's been in the loop or if he was just as shocked. The final outcome of talks between the IceHogs and MetroCentre is still not known. Both are expected to continue this new found working relationship this weekend. Something is most likely to be put into writing and ready for the Winnebago County Board to look at by its next meeting on January 25th.