Whitley Bay 'is still the only option' for Vipers

JAIMIE Longmuir believes the Elite League will do everything it can to save Newcastle Vipers – including possibly buying them.

JAIMIE Longmuir believes the Elite League will do everything it can to save Newcastle Vipers – including possibly buying them.

The general manager was pleasantly surprised by the reception at Tuesday’s board meeting, but thinks D-day is six weeks away.

“There was a lot of positive support from the clubs and the league because I think we’ve conducted ourselves pretty well,” he said. “I didn’t always get that impression. At the outset it looked pretty bleak. It’s an important club because of our travelling support. They’ve been pleased with how the fans have responded. The league are going to try everything they can to keep the club alive, but want to make sure it’s viable.

“Nothing was decided 100%, which I expected. But I don’t think the supporters will have to wait long to find out what’s happening.

“For any sports team to go ahead there’s a lot needs to happen. There’s a board meeting scheduled for the first week of May and I would think there would be some decisions then.”

The league took over ownership in January, a situation Longmuir thinks could continue. “I could see the league potentially doing it,” he said. “There’s teams in the NBA are run by the league.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Newcastle and Edinburgh not being here and that would seriously impact Dundee. This is why it’s such a delicate balance.

“But there would have to be some improvements. We would need a much stronger squad than we were allowed last season.

“The league need to address where they are going. This goes back to issues like salary capping. You can’t have a team seriously depleted playing a Sheffield team that everyone knows is over the salary cap; the new owners admitted it.”

But Longmuir dismissed Danny Stewart’s assertion that Elite League hockey is not viable at Whitley Bay. “The (Newcastle) Arena isn’t an option just now,” he stressed. “It’s tough at Whitley Bay because you look at the numbers, but there’s lots of other clubs in the same position.

“And we were involved in some games last year with more atmosphere and energy than some at the Arena.

“If people want hockey in the North East, the only option is Whitley Bay.”

 

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