The Omaha World-Herald is reporting that the Calgary Flames are finally pulling the plug on the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. Sad news for Omaha hockey? To some extent...yes. Loss of a hockey team is never something to be celebrated. But by that same measure, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Three hockey teams area is overkill for a market the size of Omaha. This isn't a black mark on Omaha as much as it is a black mark on the Flames and the city fathers who backed this boondoggle.
AJ the Huskerh8er called this right from the start. (Warning: profanity laden tirade) They got off on the wrong foot, and then proceeded to step all over themselves for most of their time in Omaha, leaving their few fans to wonder what went went wrong. MavRick wrote a nice essay last summer about the situation which sums it up quite nicely.
Back in February, I called May 6th in the OAK's death pool, so I'm not surprised by today's news. Some might think I'm taking pleasure in the end of the Knights, which isn't correct. The end of the Knights doesn't automatically make the Mavericks and Lancers more successful. But it does make Omaha a better community for one or both of the remaining teams to hopefully thrive. And thriving is what counts.
The dedicated Knights fans, though few in number, have the right to mourn the passing of the franchise to the Quad Cities. They'll say a few spiteful things towards fans of the other hockey teams, trying to pass the blame from the OAK's management. That's ok...they're angry about the loss of professional sports.
With the departure of the Knights, does this change the financial situation of the Civic Auditorium, perhaps freeing up resources for the oft-discussed Coliseum near Chili Greens? The DLR study on the viability of the Auditorium complex was due "mid-May", so we should be hearing about this any day know. Did this impact the Flames decision to pull the plug?