After playing less than two months, the Wichita Falls Force hockey team is no more. Players started leaving town last week, after being locked out of Kay Yeager Coliseum, realizing the end was near. And the team still owes the facility a significant amount of money.
“Bill Davidson,” said now former Wichita Falls Force hockey team host home coordinator Mary Albertson, pointing out who’s to blame for the team leaving. She said Davidson has failed to own up to his costly and poor leadership. She was cautiously optimistic when the announcement was made that hockey was coming back to Wichita Falls and wanted to help.
Albertson volunteered and was then approached by former sales and marketing manager Kevin Lovig to help manage host home family payments. Not too long after, Albertson began to worry.
“I got a call about making sure that all the housing checks would clear the bank,” said Albertson. “And my response was: ‘Are you telling me that some of these checks may be insufficient?'”
Albertson said she felt awkward, but contacted each of the six host home families to make sure they went through. As of Monday night, those homes are owed a total of $2100 from the Force.
The MPEC is also owed money, specifically more than $11,000 for the last three games the team played in November. And on top of that, MPEC general manager Michael Tipton said it costs $1000 a month just to keep up the ice.
Tipton acknowledged that many were unhappy when they heard he locked the team out of the Kay Yeager Coliseum a few days ago. He said he did it, however, not to stop the players from doing what they love, but to prevent losing more than the $11,000 they’re owed: money they will probably never see.
“As agents of the city, we’re responsible for taxpayer money. And I think it would have been irresponsible of me to continue to let the tab build up, if you will,” said Tipton.
Texomashomepage was able to reach Force sales by phone, who provided contact info for Davidson. We tried to get a response from Force management at their building in downtown Wichita Falls, but no one answered. And while Albertson and Tipton remain frustrated, unlike the Force’s owner, the MPEC is still doing business.
On that note, the MPEC will hold a business after hours meeting this Thursday, during which professional indoor soccer will be played. Individual Wichita Falls Force tickets can be refunded at the box office. However, season tickets will have to be refunded by the Force.