Knights Fall On Their Sword

A bombshell was dropped on the Australian Ice Hockey League this afternoon as news broke that the Canberra Knights have folded and will not be participating in the 2014 AIHL season.

Pic :: Ben Southall Photography

Pic :: Ben Southall Photography

The news came as a shock to many and prompted an outpouring of emotion on social media, as fans, players, officials and media all came to terms with this news.

News first broke on twitter at about 4.30pm this afternoon when ABC journalist Ewan Gilbert tweeted that the Knights, who have been around since 1981,had folded.

This news was confirmed by Knights players over twitter and ultimately by a statement on the AIHL website, the statement was as follows.

“Early this morning the Canberra Knights advised the AIHL Commission that they will be withdrawing from the AIHL Competition, effectively immediately.

This is sad news for the AIHL and the Australian hockey community.

The AIHL would like to acknowledge and thank the Canberra Knights organisation, players, volunteers and dedicated fans for their support of the Canberra Knights and the AIHL.”

Knights owner John Raut confirmed to the Canberra Times that the reasons for folding the club were financial and a lack of local player depth.

He confirmed that the league had offered the Knights the assistance of extra import players.

‘‘We were offered an extra two import places for this season, but it wouldn’t have solved the situation because the local talent we do have is two or three years away.” Raut told Lee Gaskin of the Canberra Times.

‘‘But the bottom line is do we keep throwing money out and accepting a loss and accepting as we have in the last couple of seasons not being able to do Canberrans proud by putting a competitive side on the ice.”

This is a bitter pill to swallow for the league and must leave them worrying about the financial state of the other clubs.

What impact this has on the season is yet to be told. One such consideration is the fixture. Will the fixture need to be re-done or will the scheduled games against Canberra just become byes?

Hopefully there are answers to this and the many other questions fans and players will undoubtedly have in the coming days.

And a white “Knight” coming to save them.

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Chris Meister

Chris Meister

Editor at large - Hockey
Chris is a mad fan of almost any sport and a number of sporting teams, too many to mention. With an American father, Chris’s love of traditional North American sports was developed at a young age, receiving weekly newspaper clippings on all the Philadelphia teams from his grandfather (how times have changed!!). In the latter half of the 2011 AIHL season, Chris started writing for theaihl.com and has since written for Hewitt Sports Network covering AIHL and ABL and The Armchair Selector. In the limited spare time that Chris has, he enjoys going to watch his favourite teams play (whatever the code) and also spending time with his young family.
Chris Meister
Chris Meister

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