WHEELING - Of all the supporters and fans of the Wheeling Nailers hoping the team would make a deep run through the Kelly Cup Playoffs, Don Rigby was one of the most hopeful.
Besides hoping the team was successful in winning a championship, Rigby, executive director of the Regional Economic Development Partnership, was hoping a long playoff appearance would mean more time for him and the new co-owners of the team.
"Of course we were hoping they continued to win, as we always have," he said. "But we had also hoped we had more time to get everything in order."
RED, along with the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association, formed the Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley and purchased the team in March.
The sale ensures a 21st season of hockey will be played in Wheeling, though Rigby said there is much to be done between now and the beginning of next season.
He said those efforts formally begin today, when ownership of the team is expected to be officially transferred.
"I can't say we have a perfect plan together on anything yet," Rigby said. "We are looking at every option for every possible decision."
Rigby said those decisions include everything from continuing to work out details of a new lease agreement with WesBanco Arena to housing for the players.
"Even though something like housing will not be an issue until down the road, we want to make sure we are ahead of the game as much as we can be," he said.
Additionally, Rigby and other representatives from the group are preparing for league meetings in which they will be taking part for the first time.
He said preparation for those meetings and the official takeover of the team has caused for several long nights of work.
"We have been working a lot of evenings and weekends to get the deal closed in such a quick period of time," he said. "Anytime you take on a new business in such a short period, knocking out those details is even more important."