Caps extend agreement with Skipjacks for '93-94

January 30, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

The Skipjacks and the parent Washington Capitals have tentatively agreed to extend their working relationship for one year.

Skipjacks owner Tom Ebright announced to the Baltimore Arena crowd after the first period of last night's game against the Hershey Bears that the official signing will be Feb. 19, when Capitals general manager David Poile will be on hand.

"You fans can look forward to at least one more season of hockey," Ebright said.

However, Ebright warned that unless attendance improves and the team receives more support from Baltimore's political and business communities, and more season tickets are sold, "Baltimore will lose this team."

This, he said, "is the last chance for hockey in Baltimore."

The 5,705 fans at last night's game brought Skipjacks attendance to 77,570 for 26 home dates, an average of 2,983. The total is down 8,000 from last year. Ebright expects the final total will be between 140,000 and 145,000.

"We need 180,000 to keep the Caps' interest in Baltimore," Ebright said. "They want their players to play before big crowds."

Ebright says he also needs more financial support to pay his fees to the Capitals. American Hockey League teams pay about $500,000 a year to parent teams for players, coaches and equipment.

"Poile is pleased with everything except the attendance," Ebright said. "Any long-term agreement is contingent on attendance goals."

To draw 180,000 next year, Ebright said, "We need to sell more than the 1,000 season tickets we sold this year." He said that Hershey sells 3,000 season tickets.

The Skipjacks and Capitals began their association in 1988 with a two-year contract.

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