The North American Hockey League has been in St. Louis twice in the league's 35 years of existence. The first version, the St Louis Sting and today's St. Louis Bandits. What confuses me is the fact that both teams either ignored or overlooked the 10,000 seat Family Arena in St. Charles.
How could something like this happen? In their hayday, the United Hockey League's Missouri River Otters drew an average of 5,906 in 1999-2000 and still averaged 2,446 in 2005-2006 before the team discontinued operations.
Family Arena has been the focal point of numerous rumors this off-season. There has been speculation that the Central Hockey League, United States Hockey League, and even the ECHL were about to set up shop at the arena. As of today, sources within the arena are saying that they only really talked to one of those leagues.
Why not St. Charles? The rent is reasonable, roughly $5,000 a game, and the arena would reduce that number along with an increase in attendance. Again, that number might seem big to some folks, but laughable to many others. Let's just say this, $5,000 sounds really good to more than a few current NAHL teams.
Why are the Bandits not playing at Family Arena? Maybe because the organization was either unwilling to take the risk or unwilling to put in the effort it was going to take to make it work. Either way, one of the most successful franchises in league history looks to be on its last legs.
It is my opinion that St Charles has proven itself to be a winner and it is just a matter of time before some team makes Family Arena their home.
What do you think?