Tom Ebright says he isn't going to hold any grudges.
Asked by the Baltimore Hockey Advocates last week to step aside in the bid to bring an East Coast Hockey League team here next season, the Skipjacks owner said he still will try to promote the cause.
"I'm not going to be a sore loser," Ebright said yesterday from Texas, where he and his wife, Joyce, have been vacationing. "I'm going to be as enthusiastic a supporter as I can. I'll buy season tickets to support the [prospective new] team and I'll encourage the people who have been part of the program to continue to be zTC part of the program. My goal is still to keep a hockey team in Baltimore."
The advocates, a group of local businessmen who own minority interest in the Skipjacks, said they felt Ebright's credibility with the fans became a problem when he signed a lease to move the American Hockey League team to Portland, Maine, just five weeks after announcing it would return to Baltimore next season.
"If that's how our closest friends feel, then we ought to bow out gracefully," Ebright said. "In essence, they can step into our shoes and do everything possible so this thing can go forward in a positive way."
Ebright said he would "contribute" the Skipjacks name to the potential ECHL team. He also said he would turn over to the new owner his season-ticket list and any deposits on next year's season tickets.
He said he formally has withdrawn his offer to buy the Knoxville (Tenn.) Cherokees franchise in the ECHL.
The would-be owner, Ed Anderson, owns the Providence Bruins in the AHL. Anderson labeled his discussions about putting a team here as preliminary.
"It's strictly in the developmental stages," Anderson said. "Until that team has finished its season, it's too premature to comment."
The Skipjacks return home Friday from a seven-game road trip to play Utica, needing two points to clinch a playoff berth in the AHL's Southern Division.
Ebright will attend the game and says he isn't sure what reaction he will receive from the fans.
"I'll keep my mouth shut," he said. "We've got a championship we're trying to win. It'd be better if I work hard at that and stop acting like an owner."