It’s official: Bombers won’t be back

Dayton Daily News

It’s official: Bombers won’t be back

By Debbie Juniewicz, Contributing Writer

Updated 4:46 PM Thursday, June 25, 2009

The 18-year tenure of the Dayton Bombers officially ended today, June 25, as owner Costa Papista turned the franchise’s membership back to the league.

The move came three months after the Bombers announced they would not play during the 2009-10 ECHL season, citing financial reasons. Papista, who has owned the team since 2004, said the team has never been profitable.

Despite the Bombers’ financial struggles, Papista and his staff spent the past few months obtaining season-ticket pledges, sponsor commitments and minority investment units, as well as working to secure a controlling-interest partner for a 2010-11 return.

While there was interest, Papista was unable to secure a controlling-interest partner. Without much-needed capital and a viable re-entry plan, he turned the Bombers membership back to the league at the Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas.

“I absolutely believe that the effort was there on our part and not just for the past few months,” Papista said. “The idea of finding a majority-interest partner has been something I’ve been exploring for a couple of years.”

While Dayton will be without an ECHL team for the first time in almost two decades, the Miami Valley will not be without hockey this fall. The International Hockey League Dayton Gems will play at Hara Arena and the Junior A Troy Bruins team will play at Hobart Arena.

In a letter to Bombers supporters sent out today, Papista encouraged Miami Valley hockey fans to “get their fix” by supporting one or both of those teams.

“Any effort to promote this great sport in our community is good news,” he said.

Bombers season-ticket pledge deposits will be refunded through Gottschlich & Portune, the Bombers’ law firm.