WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - After a year of no hockey in Wichita Falls, a new team has announced it plans to begin their franchise at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.
"Bill Davidson was telling me, Troy, this Wichita Falls market is going to be unreal," Troy Mick with the U.S.A. Central Hockey League said. "They're already emailing me, calling me. And they didn't really know what we were, a pro-league, junior league, they just wanted to see in my eyes the greatest sport in the world come back to Wichita Falls."
People are excited about the new hockey team, but there's also a lot of benefits for the city and MPEC.
For nearly the last year and a half the MPEC has had events, but nothing consistent with its former tenants, the Wichita Falls Nighthawks and Wildcats gone.
Now that they have one back, they think it will help the MPEC and city in many ways.
"Adding 24 home games, having them here spending money downtown before the game, after the game, as well as during the game in MPEC, that obviously just helps drive up our revenues and keeps the lights on," General Manager of the MPEC, Brian Hoffman said.
Hoffman said they still have work to do and could be busier, but added that this is a step in the right direction and will also help decrease the city's MPEC subsidy.
"When you have that consistency, it definitely does help increase the revenues that we bring in and ultimately lower the subsidy," he said. "And that's our job to do that for the city and the citizens of Wichita Falls."
Mick said they're committed for the long haul.
"For me, there's no way I'm coming here for six months or a year and seeing all this hard work go away," Mick said. "I want to be here long-term."
But Hoffman said for this to work, there will need to be community support.
"Whether it's a concert, whether it's a hockey team or whatever it may be, it's about getting in the community and let them know what's going on, and to come out and support these events," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said they also continue to look for an arena football team to replace the Nighthawks.