The Williamsport Outlaws, attempting to be the first pro hockey team to play its home games in an outdoor arena set in a ballpark, have folded operations and vacated Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters (short season A; NY-Penn League).
The Outlaws garnered a lot of attention by committing to play the entire season at an outdoor rink set up on the Bowman Field playing surface. But fans in Williamsport didn’t respond: the Federal Hockey League team drew only 28,868 fans in 27 scheduled games (including the All-Star Game) for a total of only 1,069 fans a game. That wasn’t enough for owner Kristin Rooney to keep the team going. The team’s last game at Bowman Field, set for yesterday, was cancelled, and players were informed the team was disbanding before 15 scheduled road games to end the season.
The decision pretty much leaves everyone in the lurch. Players were given a final paycheck, front-office employees were let go, and the rest of the league was left to scramble to put together a schedule sans one team. The Outlaws ownership is still on the hook for a $5,000 lease payment for Bowman Field. From the Williamsport Sun-Gazette:
“We are all out of jobs,” said head coach Chris Firriolo. “For me, and the players, it’s very disappointing. The owner has suspended all operations today. We won’t be playing for a championship.”
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