Ravens on ropes

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:03 AM ET

The Calgary Roughnecks often revel in the on-floor failures of their arch-rivals, the Vancouver Ravens.

Off the floor, however, is a different story.

Not only are the Black Birds the Riggers No. 1 adversary -- the Oilers to their Flames -- Vancouver is also Calgary's closest National Lacrosse League counterpart, only a short hop over the Rockies.

So the news this week that Vancouver is again mired in an ownership crisis -- the latest of many since the team's inception in 2001 -- and teetering on the brink of extinction has many in the Roughnecks organization crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

"They're working hard out there to fix it and there have been reports there are guys stepping in to help so maybe everything will be all right," said Roughnecks majority owner and president Brad Banister. "That's what we're hoping."

Ravens founder and governor Tom Mayenknecht will make a presentation to the NLL's board of governors today at 2 p.m. by teleconference where it's hoped he'll present a plan to right the floundering franchise.

"(Today) is a big day for Tom and the Ravens," said Banister. "He's coming to the board of governors with a presentation for us and we'll find out more then. Hopefully, it's good news."

Vancouver was thought to be bought by Atlanta-based Partners Group 1 Inc. but it didn't work out.

Mayenknecht has been busy trying to put together a local consortium to pump cash into the Ravens. Vancouver businessman Tim Dwane, father of Ravens defender Matt Dwane, has been reportedly involved.

"We're getting close to putting together a solution, with the help of some good people, that will allow us to move forward with integrity and get back on track," said Mayenknecht. "I might be speaking in code a little bit but I have to watch what I say at this crucial point."

Mayenknecht added they are looking for a long-term solution.

"We're working hard to put together a solution that gives us the financial security to move forward," said Mayenknecht. "I've made it clear to Dave Evans, our general manager, and Walt Christianson, our head coach, and to all of our players that unless we are able to find a way to do this thing right, we're not going to move forward from here."

If the Ravens were to fold, it would be devastating for the league and the Riggers, who are slated to play them four times out of 16 games this season.

"It would have a financial impact on us, definitely," said Banister. "But, you know what? We need to have financially feasible teams that can pay their bills and be successful. We don't want to see them fold, obviously. We want to see Vancouver stay in this league. Hopefully, it will all work out. I think Vancouver will play this season."

Banister said the league's board of governors, of which he's a member, wants the uncertainty in Vancouver to be solved sooner than later.

"We told (Mayenknecht) we have to find out now," said Banister. "We can't wait and have them fold halfway through the season."

In a worst-case scenario if Vancouver did fold, the league's schedule would have to be redone or at least modified. So far, Banister's not sure how quickly that would be happen.

"A couple of us governors have pushed that question (with the league)," said Banister. "But we haven't got an answer yet."


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