Fans, business owners lament Norfolk Admirals’ move

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There’s something about the Norfolk Admirals that keeps fans coming back for more.

“It gets in your blood, hockey does,” Admirals fan Gary Whetzel said.

“I love this team. It’s an amazing team to watch,” said Alexandra Maghear, another fan.

Friday night there was a game to be played, but an afternoon announcement was very much on the minds of the Admirals community.

“I’m quite upset about it,” said Admirals fan Andy Stark. “It’s the second time in just a few years that we lost a team we are supporting and had grown to love.”

Ken Young, the Admirals owner, confirmed to WAVY Sports Director Bruce Rader that he’s being forced to sell the team to parent club Anaheim Ducks. That means next year Norfolk will lose it’s AHL franchise.

“What can you do?” Maghear said. “They’ve had a great run. Someone else is going to enjoy them.”

The AHL Admirals will be gone, but Scope will turn back the clock and once again have an ECHL team.

“Now we are going to go back to the ECHL,” Whetzel said. “I don’t know if we are going to notice the difference or not.”

“I’m glad they at least have a team to fill the void,” said restaurant owner Baxter Simmons.

Fans traditionally congregate at Baxters Sports Lounge on Granby Street before game time. There is some concern that with the new team attendance will drop off.

“We do count on those Admiral games,” Simmons said. “We see a big pick up January, February, and March, because they usually have pretty good home stands those three months.”

“It will be hard to see them go, but knowing that we have that safety net with hockey. that makes us happy,” Maghear said.

As long as that net is filled with a player in pads, loyal fans say they’ll keep coming back for more.

“We’re going to be here next year, because it’s hockey,” Whetzel said.

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