The Fresno Falcons ceased all operations on Monday, and the East Coast Hockey League then officially booted the team out of the league. Managing General Partner Chris Cummings issued a statement saying that ongoing financial losses forced the decision. There were talks about the possibility of the City of Fresno taking over the team as a non-profit organization, but no deal could be made.
All of the team's players are now free agents, and Falcons head coach Matt Thomas told KSEE 24 in an exclusive interview that other teams in the ECHL already began recruiting Falcons players over the weekend, anticipating today's announcement.
Earlier in the day, fans gathered outside Fresno City Hall to protest the possible shutdown of the team and urge the city to take it over. There has been no word so far whether season ticket holders will be given a refund for the rest of the season.
Statement from the Fresno Falcons:
Fresno Falcons Managing General Partner Chris Cummings announced today that the Fresno Falcons will cease operations effective 5pm today, December 22.
“It is with sadness and regret that we announce the shut down of the Fresno Falcons. We have operated the Falcons since February of 2006, accumulating significant losses. These losses have been beyond our expectations. The horrific economy and the resulting decrease in revenue from season tickets, corporate sponsorships and overall attendance has created a situation this year which is not sustainable and we simply can not continue to operate. I want to thank the partners for their support, Coach Matt Thomas and the team for producing a great product, CEO John Tull and the Falcons staff, the Falcons season ticket holders, advertisers, and fans for their support these past three years. It is my hope that the ECHL and the City of Fresno will continue their dialogue in the future to possibly revive the Falcons. I wish everyone the best.” Chris Cummings