It was a difficult season from the start for the Laredo Bucks, gone was the only coach the team had ever known, primary ownership changed hands during the first month and the team missed the playoffs for the second straight year. So after 10 years of hockey in the Gateway City, the Bucks are done in Laredo.
"It's a tough pill to swallow. We've done really well here in the past and it's just one of those things that we couldn't make it happen."
"The plan was to have hockey for next season and we were going forward as if there was hockey. We made great strides last season with our lower seating capacity and changes to the lease with the city and it was all going in the right direction, just not at a fast enough pace."
The bucks were a team that at one point had everyone in Laredo buzzing and had made their games must attend events. In the past couple years as the team performed poorly on the ice the fans stayed away spending their entertainment dollars else where.
“You keep trying different things and reinventing the wheel every season but it just seemed like the fans were kind of bored. They supported us but not enough to come to every game. It's 33 games, not just two or three a year."
Many point to the parking lot fiasco of 2006, where the team charged the fans $5 a game to use the LEA parking lot.
"Looking back, that parking fee that was installed a few years back, some fans never came from that point."
"That had to do with a little of the downfall but it wasn't the destruction of the bucks that's for sure."
If the parking fee situation wasn't the downfall, it could have been a case of too much too soon as well.
"We were very successful very early which was great but maybe backfired on us a little bit."
These factors combined with more and more teams leaving the CHL putting a strain on the teams finances.
"What hurt us was teams like Austin and Corpus leaving. Our expenses went up from there."
Now with the bucks gone the focus shifts to the other teams in Laredo and the message from Kupaks is clear.
"Sports are viable in Laredo, i just hope the fans go out and support the team because without the fans the teams can't survive."
The bucks will be reimbursing anyone that already purchased a season ticket for the 2012-13 season. If you need to speak to some one with the team about this you can call 718-BUCK (2825).