On the hot seat

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

The uncertain ownership of Edmonton's W-League soccer franchise may force the Calgary Wildfire to cease operations for next season.

The Edmonton entry in the fledgling loop is without owners and its situation might affect the Wildfire.

Making a trip to Alberta for only one game wouldn't be cost effective for the other W-League teams.

But, until a decision is made, Wildfire GM Glenn Ramsay is approaching the 2005 campaign like any other.

"I'm optimistic something will get done because there is interest in it," Ramsay said about the Edmonton franchise.

"They have a pretty good on-field program, so that always brings added excitement."

With United Soccer Leagues schedules drawn up in November, Ramsay expects news on the state of the Wildfire's provincial rivals in the coming weeks.

If Edmonton doesn't play in 2005, the Wildfire might shut down its operation temporarily.

"We'll have to consider that option," Ramsay said. "Right now, we're saying we're going in. If at one point that we hear they won't be in, we'll consider it. As far as it looks right now, we're going to go ahead."

Meanwhile, Edmonton's A-League franchise is a no-go for 2005 after the USL took over the team midway through this season.

Tim Holt, USL vice-president, cast some doubt on the Calgary Mustangs' future, too, when he refused to make an official statement about the team yesterday.

But Mustangs co-owner John Torode said Edmonton's demise won't affect his club, which is busy putting together plans for 2005.

The Mustangs received an extension of USL's permission to play at McMahon Stadium with the less-than-ideal turf.

The team must move out of its Burns Stadium offices at the end of this month to make room for the new Northern League baseball franchise but the 'Stangs are full steam ahead, despite losing their provincial rival.

"It would be better to have them because it's less expensive to go to Edmonton than anywhere else," Torode said.

"Other than that, it really doesn't affect us. It's disappointing. It would be nice to keep that rivalry going."


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