Future of Topeka Pilots on thin ice

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Topeka may soon be without a hockey team for the first time since 2007.

The Topeka Pilots’ agreement to stay in the Capital City ends soon and a team spokesman said there’s “nothing to report,” when asked about the team’s future in Topeka.

“The team has four home games remaining and since they already have secured a playoff spot, their focus is on finishing the season as strong as possible,” said Mike Swenson, a team spokesman. “Hopefully Topeka will get out and support the team the rest of the season.”

In July, KSNT News reported the Pilots coach, Simon Watson said fan turnout will decide if they continue to play in Topeka.

Representatives from Stormont Vail Events Center, where the Pilots play home games, did not return calls for comment. Representatives from Shawnee County, which owns the event space, said they had not heard about any plans for the team to continue past this season. Stormont Vail Events Center has been coordinating with the Pilots to redo its locker rooms, to help with recruiting.

The Pilots are a Tier II Junior Hockey team under the North American Hockey League. Loretto Sports Ventures, which is owned by Lamar Hunt, Jr., purchased the team — formerly known as the Topeka RoadRunners — in 2018. Loretto also owns the Kansas City Mavericks, a professional hockey team. Hunt is a member of the family that owns the Kansas City Chiefs.

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