Aviators close to hanging up sticks

The Brooklyn Aviators are no more, the team's head coach said this week.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Wanna buy a hockey team?

Aviators’ owners are desperately seeking outside financiers to help them with their two-year-old minor league hockey squad’s operating costs — and if they don’t find a new cash supply soon, Brooklyn’s Boys of Winter could be hanging up their hockey sticks and go the way of the Brooklyn Dodgers, sources close to the team said.

“The Aviators are looking for alternative means of finance,” team owner Brian O’Donahue admitted this week, but said the A’s are hoping to begin its third season at the Aviator Sports and Recreation Center — which the team’s rabid fans call the Hangar — in Mill Basin this fall. “It’s no secret that this hockey team is not a money-making operation, but we know it can be. That’s why we’re looking for alternate sources of income. We’re taking it step by step and hope that nothing about the team will change.”

But sources from inside the Federal Hockey League, which the Aviators belong to, aren’t surprised that the Aviators are in trouble — minor league teams are notorious for bleeding cash, they said.

“Everybody loses money in this venture, the Danbury Whalers are probably the only team that makes money right now,” said a source close to the Aviators. “It’s minor league sports and it’s a product you have to build.”

The Brooklyn Aviators — formerly the Brooklyn Aces — exploded onto the minor-league skating scene during the Federal Hockey League’s premier 2010-2011 season. The A’s won 21 straight games during its freshman year, ending the season as the Federal Hockey League’s top-ranked team before falling to the hated Akwesasne Warriors in the fourth round of the Commissioner’s Cup series.

Last season was less impressive: the Aviators finished in fourth place, before being defeated by the Danbury Whalers in the first round of the playoffs.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

Skating into the history books: The Aviators may shut down its operation if it doesn't get some new financial backers.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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