Southern Oregon Spartans to be sold, season in jeopardy

The sale of the franchise puts the upcoming season in jeopardy and the WSHL is preparing to move forward without the Spartans for at least a year.

Posted: May 7, 2019 5:26 PM
Updated: May 7, 2019 11:46 PM

MEDFORD—The Southern Oregon Spartans are up for sale, the franchise announced Tuesday.

“As an ownership group, we just don't have the time resources to continue to put together a successful product year after year, so we're looking for somebody who has interest and time to continue what we've started," said Forest Sexton, who, along with Troy Irving and John Hanson, has owned the team for almost a decade.

Sexton has placed a $25,000 price tag on the team and its assets, but must move quickly if the Spartans hope to field a roster and a coaching staff for the upcoming season.

“In order for another franchise to have a successful season next year, they would probably have to be on the ground within the next six to eight weeks,” he said.

"I'm hoping that they can find somebody,” said Ellen Eggleston, the manager of Southern Oregon Ice Arena. “It's May and they start practicing in September so I'm hoping somebody will step up and take it over and keep them here locally."

The concern is echoed by the Western States Hockey League, and commissioner Ron White said he’s preparing to move forward without the Spartans for at least a year.

Since the Spartans were operating as a non-equity team, the sale of the franchise does not include a license to compete in the WSHL.

New licenses for expansion teams cost $125,000, but commissioner White envisions a deal being struck—one similar to what was in place when the Spartans moved, as an operating team, from the NorPac League to the WSHL in 2012.

White said he wants a team in southern Oregon, and the local community’s support is a big reason why.

"I will tell people in the Valley if someone's interested helping carry this on as Troy, John and I have please step forward now,” Sexton said. “We will give everything we possibly can to try to make that transition successful. At the end of the day, Troy, John and I want to see hockey stay in the Valley.”

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