Wednesday, January 8
CHL's troubled El Paso Buzzards pay for open skate

Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas -- After being kicked off their home ice because of overdue rent payments, members of the El Paso Buzzards hockey team paid $5 each to skate during an open session at the facility.

"If a player wants to skate in a public skating session, and they want to pay the $5, they can skate,'' Coliseum director Brian Kennedy said Tuesday, the day of the impromptu practice.

County commissioners ruled Monday that the Central Hockey League team was barred from the El Paso County Coliseum because it owes $22,500 in back rent.

Buzzards owner Bill Davidson had asked the commissioners to deduct money he says he is owed for parking, food and beer sales, but the county said that amount is smaller than the rent owed.

The Buzzards are contractually obligated to pay the county $1,500 rent for each home game. Davidson hasn't paid rent since Nov. 10 -- the Buzzard's sixth game of the season.

"The county announced men's hockey from 10 a.m. to noon,'' said Buzzards director of communications Michael LaPlaca. "That was a way that the team got around that. The team was able to work on some things on the ice.''

CHL president Brad Treliving said hockey will remain in El Paso. The contract between the league and Davidson requires him to pay the rent and provides a mechanism for the league to take back the franchise.

"How we're going to get through the hot issues remains to be seen,'' Treliving said.

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