Hitmen Back In Court NAHL Acts To Protect League

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Hitmen back in court – NAHL acts to protect league

The Hitmen are still trying to finish their season, and are asking a judge to stop the management company from blocking access to the ice for games and practice and to compel arbitration to settle the dispute.

Last week, Kane County Circuit Judge Thomas Mueller ruled against the Hitmen’s claim based on the terminology their lawyer used in the filing. Mueller gave the Hitmen’s Attorney leave to refile the complaint using different wording, which was done on Friday the 16th.

Centrum arena management alleges the Hitmen have not lived up to the terms of the contract, and it banned the organization’s two teams from the ice until the Hitmen payroughly $20,000 in disputed charges for ice time and agree to cancel the final four years remaining on the lease.

The NAHL has been forced to respond to protect the league and its member teams. The response has been professional and appropriate. Within the court filing are two certified letters from the North American Hockey League, warning that continued participation of both their teams is in jeopardy.

“The Chicago Hitmen … is in default of its obligation to the NAHL … [and] NA3HL to provide competitive hockey consistent with our standards and our league schedule,” the March 9 letters read in part. “The fact that your facility lease is in default, that you are behind in your payments, that practice and game ice is unavailable to you and that you are locked out of the Fox Valley Ice Arena precludes you from complying with your obligations as a … member.”

The letters give the Hitmen 30 days to remedy the situation or face termination of their teams’ membership. This is seen to be a careful and measured response to protect member teams from collateral damage to their reputations.

Today’s hearing could provide finality. Whether the judge will allow the team to play its final two home games of the season Friday and Saturday, as scheduled, at Fox Valley Ice Arena is the question to be answered. The final home weekend includes the team’s long-planned “Faceoff for Veterans” event on Saturday, in which custom-made jerseys from the game will be raffled afterward to benefit the “Wounded Warriors Project” and USA Warriors Hockey Team.

The team announced it has booked ice time at Triphahn Center in Hoffman Estates for Friday and Saturday as an alternate venue for the games and the Wounded Warriors event if access remains denied access to Fox Valley Ice Arena.

The team has been practicing at its old home, West Meadows Ice Arena recently.

It should be noted that nearly every minor professional and junior hockey league in North America has franchises move, or fold annualy. The Hitmen’s troubles are not shared by most operators in the NAHL, and the league is considered to be healthy. Hockey, like any other business has its success’s and failures. The NAHL is one of the largest junior hockey leagues in the world it is only natural that some operations will not achieve the level of success they project in certain markets.

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