Local News

Fayetteville To Get New Ice Hockey Team

Posted April 10, 2002

— More than a year ago, the Fayetteville Force packed up and moved out. On Tuesday, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce announceed the arrival of a new team that owners say will bring the same excitement back to the Crown Coliseum.

Howard Bullard has been in the Fayetteville furniture business practically his whole life. Now, his favorite hobby is taking him to a new kind of arena.

"We saw an opportunity come along that would enable us to get involved and bring hockey back to Fayetteville," he said.

Bullard is one of 10 local business owners who will be the co-owners of the new Cape Fear pro hockey team called the Fire Antz. It replaces the Fayetteville Force after the team's owner decided to join the East Coast Hockey League and leave town last year.

"I'm not looking to carry this team anywhere else. We want the team in Fayetteville, North Carolina," Bullard said.

County commissioners were concerned the Crown Coliseum was losing money because the facility was not being used as much as they hoped.

Steve Stark, vice president of operations, said hockey's return could not have come at a better time. Sports fans can also enjoy the Fayetteville Swamp dogs, the Patriots from the National Basketball Development League and the new Cape Fear Wildcats, an Arena Football II team.

"We're a new team, new organization, new ownership and we're just looking at starting off on the right foot. We're looking forward to dropping the puck in October," Stark said.

Last year's departure of the Fayetteville Force took money from season ticket holders and corporate sponsors with it. The new owners said they will honor all previous commitments.

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