Bandits president quells rumors of team leaving town, league Hopes to improve Wednesday crowds

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Bob Teck, president of the Baltimore Bandits, shot down a rumor that has been making the rounds for more than a week that the team might be departing the American Hockey League and the city and joining the East Coast Hockey League next season.

"Totally out of left field" is the way the team's principal owner described the hearsay. "We haven't even talked to the East Coast people in a couple of years."

Through 17 home dates, the Bandits have drawn 55,582, an average of about 3,270 per game, a definite disappointment.

"But we knew coming in we were going to lose money," said Teck. "Right now, our challenge is to get our crowd count up on Wednesdays [16 dates].

"Clearly, we do much better on weekends, and next year we expect to get a better break on home dates. From the very start we knew as soon as we could solve our date problems, we'd go a long way toward solving any other problems that arise.

"Actually, we'd be crazy to get out now with Philadelphia coming into the AHL. What could be a better natural rivalry than Baltimore vs. Philadelphia?"

The Flyers announced earlier this week they are severing their longtime ties with Hershey and setting up an AHL affiliate in Philadelphia.

Lately, a man named Bob Hecht of the Hampton Roads area of Virginia has been talking to the ECHL about putting a franchise in a city in North Carolina. Hecht, Teck?

Teck said he heard a rumor that somebody was planning to put a minor-league basketball team in Baltimore Arena.

"I heard that and immediately thought, 'How is it going to get any good dates with a hockey team, an indoor soccer team, an indoor lacrosse team already here and the Washington Bullets grabbing some [four] weekend dates?' "

Remarkably, the Bandits do not have a Saturday home date all season and have only nine Friday bookings during the 28-week season. They are playing 10 Sunday dates during the afternoon (usually 5 p.m.).

Bandits tonight

Opponent: Cornwall Aces

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7:30

Radio: WAMD (970 AM)

Outlook: The Bandits (10-17-2) need a victory badly, because they have five road games over the next eight days and have been largely ineffective as travelers (3-7-2). The Aces scored a come-from-behind triumph over Baltimore on Wednesday night, the winning goal coming with seven seconds remaining. The visitors feature defense and goaltending, having allowed 2.97 goals per game.

Capitals tonight

Opponent: Edmonton Oilers

Site: USAir Arena, Landover

Time: 8

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM), WTEM (570 AM)

Outlook: The Oilers (11-17-6) have struggled all season and are coming off a 4-1 home-ice loss to Colorado. Washington (14-14-3) is 3-1-1 in its past five games, but comes off a 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers. Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld describes Edmonton as "dangerous" because former Stanley Cup winner Bill Ranford (11-14-5, 3.54 goals-against average) is in net and because the Oilers have a powerful line centered by Doug Weight (12 goals, 33 assists), the team's leading scorer. The Capitals will have Jim Carey (12-10-3, 2.50 GAA) in goal. Washington LW Kelly Miller (groin) is out. Edmonton reports LW Zdeno Cigar (right leg nerve bruise), D Fredrik Olausson (irregular heartbeat) and RW Louie Debrusk (elbow) are out.

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