Negotiations continue for hockey in Pelham

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

It appears that hockey will remain in Pelham, but so too do questions about which team, and for what league.

The Alabama Slammers played their home games at the Pelham Civic Complex as part of the World Hockey Association 2 last season. That league has since changed its name twice and the Slammers lease at the facility has run out.

As the team’s lease approached

its May 31 expiration date, Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes said he would not work out a deal allowing the Slammers to return to the Pelham Civic Complex until the team settled its outstanding debt with the city and local businesses.

Since that time a different league, the South East Hockey League, announced its plans to place a team at the Pelham Civic Complex featuring the revived name, the &uot;Bulls&uot;.

Hayes said he was scheduled to meet with a representative from a local ownership group affiliated with the SEHL Tuesday morning. Results of that meeting were unavailable at presstime.

Several media outlets last week reported a possible merger between the SEHL and the Southern Hockey League (formerly the WHA2). But SEHL President John Cherney said a merger was not possible because SEHL teams are individually owned and the league lacks a no-compete clause, making their membership voluntary.

&uot;I think we need a deadline by about the 10th of July,&uot; Cherney said. &uot;I think we can have six teams (in the SEHL this season).&uot;

Meanwhile, Slammers owner Taylor Hall has already been announced as owner and director of hockey operations for a new SHL team in Winston Salem, N.C.

Calls to his Alabama office Monday were greeted by a voice mail saying the Slammers would begin play at the Pelham Civic Complex in October.

Although SHL President Bill Coffey said it appeared the Alabama Slammers would fold