Fort Worth Brahmas want city ‘partnership’ for new venue

Posted Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The new owner of the Fort Worth Brahmas hockey team wants to play again in Tarrant County but needs a new venue suitable for Central Hockey League play, the franchise president said Thursday.

“We have the franchise, we are not folding the franchise,” said Mike Barack, who is running the team for owner Stuart Fraser, who took back control of the Brahmas in the spring. “We suspended operations. Our plan is to maintain the franchise in Tarrant County and hopefully have a new arena to play in down the road.”

Several days ago, the Arizona-based CHL announced that the Brahmas would not be playing in the league next season, that the league was looking for a “more suitable venue” for the club, and that the league declared all Brahmas players unrestricted free agents.

The team, which last season played most of its games in the 2,500-seat NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills and a handful at the Fort Worth Convention Center, wants a 6,000-seat venue similar to an arena in Allen where another CHL team plays, Barack said.

“It’s an ideal capacity for a team in the CHL,” Barack said.

In the best scenario, an entity such as a city would build the arena “in partnership” with the Brahmas, Barack said.

“We would love to play in a new venue in the next few years,” Barack said.

The team, which won the CHL championship in 2009, was sold last year by Fraser to a group headed by Fort Worth businessman Mike Atkinson. But after the last season ended in March, the ownership reverted back to Fraser, who had operated the team for 14 seasons, because the Atkinson group defaulted on the purchase price, Barack said.

The Star-Telegram was not able to reach Atkinson for comment.

The Brahmas are not interested in an interim situation, such as playing at NYTEX until a new arena is built, Barack said. “Economically, it is important for us to be in a new venue,” he said.

The Brahmas have been interested in playing at the Will Rogers Coliseum or Fort Worth Convention Center, but there isn’t enough availability for a full season of home games, Barack said.

The CHL’s statement did not say the team had changed hands, why the team wasn’t playing next season, whether it was still in business, or why NYTEX wasn’t suitable. CHL representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

For the past five seasons, the Brahmas played most of their games at NYTEX, including 26 games this past season.

The team also owes Fort Worth and a vendor at the Fort Worth Convention Center more than $8,000 for games it played there, Kirk Slaughter, Fort Worth’s public events director, said.

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

Twitter: @JScottNishimura

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