Florida Seals' season over after arena locks out team

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The local pro hockey club is out of business after failing to meet contractual obligations

Tania Ganguli
Sentinel Staff Writer

The Florida Seals are no longer in operation.

After being locked out of Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee for failing to meet contractual obligations, the Southern Professional Hockey League team ended its season and its players were dispersed throughout the league in a draft Friday afternoon. The SPHL would not specify the obligations that had not been met.

"Each team drafted a player and the rest are free agents," SPHL Director of Hockey Operations Bill Coffey said. "Some of these players may have gone home, some may have gone to other hockey leagues."

Teams selected in reverse order of winning percentage. Pee Dee selected Justin Keller, Jacksonville took Lawne Snyder, Robert Sich went to Fayetteville, Matt Balser went to Richmond, Columbus took Chad Haacke, Knoxville took Craig Geerlinks and Craig Miller went to Huntsville.

Seals left wing Steve Zoryk is one of the players left as a free agent and has spoken to representatives from Huntsville, Knoxville and Jacksonville.

"Huntsville's in first place," Zoryk said. "I don't have many years left in these legs, so I would like to go to a first-place team or a contender in order to win a championship."

This is not the first time the Seals have had problems with their arena.

From 2002 to 2004, the Seals, then the Orlando Seals, played at TD Waterhouse Centre. The arena decided not to renew the Seals' contract after being disappointed by poor attendance. Coffey said the team suspended operations for the 2004-2005 season while waiting to get in to Silver Spurs Arena.

The team drew an average of fewer than 1,000 fans per game this season.

Web posted on Jan. 6, 2007

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