After their lease at the Orleans Arena wasn't renewed, the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers announced a pretty pie-in-the-sky idea for where they might play their games in 2014-15: the roof at the Plaza Casino and Hotel. (Not just pie-in-the-sky, then. Hockey in the sky.)
It was an awesome idea. Sadly, however, that plan has fallen through.
Granted, "through" is better than "through the roof", which one imagines was a concern in installing a hockey arena -- a 45,000 square foot fabric-shell structure, a sheet of ice, and 3500 seats -- on top of a building.
The costs, however? Those were through the roof. The Plaza announced on Thursday that the Wranglers would not be moving their home games to the hotel-casino after all, citing concerns that the project had exceeded the original cost estimations.
Worse, it wasn't going to be ready in time. From the Las Vegas Sun:
“The pool deck wasn’t going to be feasible in a time frame for us to play at the Plaza,” Wranglers President Billy Johnson said in a phone interview just after the release was issued via email.
“We do have another (plan) that we’ve dual-tracked in case things didn’t work out as smoothly as we’d liked with the Plaza,” he said.
Dual-tracked in this context means the team was simultaneously working out a plan for another venue.
In other words, the Wranglers were never so sold on this idea that they didn't bother with a backup plan. What that is, and how far along it is, however, remain to be seen.
But there isn't much time for the Wranglers to turn this around. With the season starting up in November, Johnson admitted that the ECHL wants to know what's happening "yesterday".
For now, however, we simply mourn the death of a really cool idea.
“Jonathan Jossel and the Plaza had an amazing vision, and we wanted to see that through,” Johnson told the Sun. “We went very, very long to see it happen, and their boldness was just off the charts. ... But sometimes you just have to look at feasibility and understand when something just can’t work.”