An uncertain future lies ahead for the hometown hockey team. The Columbus Cottonmouths are now on the market; owners Shelby and Wanda Amos says they will sell the team at the end of the 2017 season.
News Leader 9 spoke to Wanda Amos, who said she was still heartbroken about making the decision to sell the Snakes. But, she said, at the end of the day, the finances just didn't add up.
"We just can't continue to sustain these losses, you know? That hasn't turned around, and last year was a difficult year," Amos said. "We had a bad season, so we said, we'll just give it one more year and keep on trying."
Amos said a couple factors over the last year, including thoughts on retirement and the team's bus wreck while on a road trip, moved her to announce the sale.
"Hadn't turned around this year, and then the bus wreck, on top of that, has just been kind of an added thing," Amos said. "It's just, sometimes, you get to a point where you say this is just too much."
The announcement has left former players like goaltender Ian Vigier stunned.
"We're all kind of in shock, a little disbelief that this could possibly be happening," Vigier said. "I think the feelings are mutual with talking with those guys, that you know, this is a family that we've created."
And according to the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, should the Cottonmouths move or shut down, the city will lose a major tourist and entertainment draw.
"It's always a challenge to have all the amenities we have," said Brian Anderson, the Chamber's President, "So you have to have financial backing, and that's what the Amos' have provided.
Anderson also said he understands what head coach and general manager Jerome Bechard is trying to do, in handling the day-to-day operations and interactions with the players.
As it stands, the Amos family has a deadline of May 1 to interview potential candidates for ownership. Wanda Amos said the Southern Professional Hockey League is actively working with her and her husband to try and keep the Cottonmouths in town.