With discussions of bringing a team to the city having stalled, officials are not expecting a professional Reno hockey team in the near future.
Last year, the Reno Puck Club took a step forward in its effort to bring a team to the Reno Events Center. That progress was made after a vote in December 2016, when the Reno City Council approved a term sheet and directed city staff to undertake negotiations with the group. At the time, it was anticipated that the effort could move forward at a pace that allowed Reno to land an ECHL team as early as the 2018-19 season.
More recently, however, it appears that the discussions have come to a standstill. The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitor’s Authority is seeking to move on from its management from of certain facilities, including the Reno Events Center, and the agency’s license agreement with the Reno Puck Club expired in June. Furthermore, concerns have arisen over the potential cost of modifying the Reno Events Center to accommodate hockey. Reno mayor Hillary Schieve is not dismissing the possibility of eventually landing a Reno hockey club, but confirms that negotiations concerning a team by 2018 have stalled for now. More from the Reno Gazette Journal:
“While we were excited about the prospect of adding a minor-league hockey team to that list in 2018, we also want to make sure that we set the team up for success during their time in Reno,” Schieve said. “Although negotiations have stalled for the time being, our Council will continue to look for ways to support the effort of bringing more professional sports teams to our great city.”
At the time of the city council vote, the Reno Puck Club was expected to renovate the Reno Events Center to include an 85-foot by 200-foot ice rink, new locker rooms, a new elevator and repairs to stadium seating for approximately $5.7 million.
Securing the funding to make the Reno Events Center hockey-ready remains the biggest hurdle. Selling naming rights to the Reno Events Center was one pitch to help raise the money.
Reno Events Center is currently home to the NBA Gatorade League’s Reno Bighorns. The city’s mix of professional sports franchises also includes baseball’s Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and soccer’s Reno 1868 FC (USL), both of which play at Greater Nevada Field. However, Reno has not had professional hockey since the Reno Rage played their last game at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in 1998.