Rumors on move, but officials say Bandits are staying put Change in ownership, bankruptcy also denied

February 23, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

If the Bandits sold a ticket for every rumor about the health of the franchise they had to deal with in the last 36 hours, tonight's home game with Providence would be a sellout.

Depending upon which source you might want to go with, the team is either being sold, leaving after the season, folding completely or being taken over by the American Hockey League.

Majority owner Bob Teck has heard all the conjecture up at his home in New Jersey and, last night, stuck by the words he issued at Wednesday's game:

"Whatever reaction is coming from the media is pure speculation."

That speculation included everything from the league requesting the current ownership sell the team, preferably to local ownership, to Teck and partner Alan Gertner declaring bankruptcy, to the reason why money for marketing and promotions has been all but nonexistent since Thanksgiving is that the organization was woefully underfinanced and has a list of creditors stretching from the goal to blue line.

Teck, while shooting down similar-type rumors several weeks ago, said "we expected to take losses the first year and we prepared for it. There will be hockey in Baltimore next year."

As far as the hockey personnel is concerned, it's business as usual, coach Walt Kyle talking as though there's little doubt in his mind that the team will be here next year and working with the same NHL parent organization, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

He cited goalie Mike O'Neill as a player "with a two-year deal with the Ducks who will be back next year as we continue to work on the plan of bringing young goalies along."

Team officials have said they plan to fulfill financial obligations to vendors and sponsors.

Maria D'Agostino, assistant director of communications for the league, handled numerous inquiries yesterday by quoting AHL president David Andrews as saying, "everything is status quo in Baltimore."

It's hard to tell what that means. Rumors of the franchise here moving or changing hands have been floating around since the Bandits started the season with one win in their first 11 games and started drawing crowds of 2,500 just weeks into the season -- after 7,293 showed up on opening night Oct. 6.

A spokesman for the Anaheim organization indicated he was uncomfortable commenting on speculation concerning the Bandits since the Ducks are mainly interested in the way the on-ice operation functions here.

(AHL standings, 9D)

Bandits tonight

Opponent: Providence Bruins

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7:30

Radio: WITH (1230 AM), WAMD (970 AM)

Outlook: The Bandits have had decent success with Providence, winning, losing and tying in three matches. But their woes continue at the Arena, where the team is 10-16-4, the worst home record in the AHL. Another negative dogging Baltimore is it is one of only two teams in the league that has not won a game when trailing after two periods (0-22-3). A crowd in excess of 6,000 is expected.

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