While for all intents and purposes, the Holland River Bandits no longer exist as an AAU sanctioned team or an MWJHL member in good standing, the saga continues.
Multiple TJHN sources are reporting that Dev Del Core, River Bandits team owner along with her husband Matt Del Core, arrived at Edge Ice Arena in Holland Michigan yesterday with a large moving truck to remove team owned equipment.
Spin bikes, glove dryers, jerseys and all other team equipment is now loaded onto a truck and headed somewhere. Where that “somewhere” is, no one is quite sure.
Sources within the Edge Arena have been told that the equipment will be sold to pay off team debt owed to advertisers. Other sources have been told the equipment is going to be placed into storage.
TJHN has been made aware of certain advertiser agreements with local Holland business owners that can not be honored while the River Bandits are suspended.
Not yet addressed is the remaining time left on the ice contract with Edge Ice Arena. Sources are reporting that there may be as many as four years left on the ice contract with money owed said to be in the $140,000.00 range. Edge Ice has been going through its own economic difficulties of late and is said to be looking at how they can enforce or collect upon the remaining monies owed.
While a team removing equipment from an arena is not wholly unusual, it certainly is not the norm. One could also infer that with the removal of the equipment that the team may not be appealing the AAU suspension. Otherwise, why not simply wait until the appeal process has been completed?
Sources are also reporting that two groups have made applications to the MWJHL to replace the Holland River Bandits on the schedule. While no information is yet available on when one or the other group will be accepted it is believed one group will be approved to replace the River Bandits.
The MWJHL needs an eighth team for the 2013-2014 season in order to maintain a balanced schedule.
Though no one is saying a team may be place back in Holland to replace the River Bandits, the fact that the River Bandits are “suspended” and still apparently have a lease may complicate matters for anyone wishing to place a new franchise in Holland. The River Bandits would simply need to say they intend on returning for the 2014-2015 season, pay the fines imposed by AAU, and pay for their ice at the Edge Ice Arena in order to block anyone from entering the Holland market.
TJHN will update this story as more information becomes available.