Supervisors approve deal with Sea Wolves, Coast Coliseum
The unanimous vote marks the official return of the professional hockey team to Biloxi.
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s official! The Sea Wolves are back in Biloxi once again!
The Harrison County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday morning to approve the team’s new lease at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
According to the Coliseum’s Executive Director Matt McDonnell, it’s a two-year hard deal with three one-year options.
“There are thresholds of attendance that have to be met for those renewals to happen but I am confident after the fanbase showed us overwhelmingly that they wanted hockey back that this is going to work for awhile,” said McDonnell as he addressed the supervisors.
The decision comes after three Minor League hockey games were held at the Coliseum last year. Thousands of people filled the arena for those games to cheer on the Sea Wolves.
“Not only did (the fans) support it but they sold out the very final night of the three - not exhibition games - but regular season games,” said McDonnell. “Nobody knew who the teams were. Nobody really knew who the players were, but they wanted to see hockey so bad that they came out and not only supported it but sold out that final night. We did almost 18,000 people over three games. That is significant.”
The Mississippi Sea Wolves first brought a professional ice hockey team to the Coliseum in 1996. The team called Biloxi home for more than a decade, even once winning the Kelly Cup in what would become an iconic memory for so many on the Coast. After taking two seasons off following Hurricane Katrina, the Sea Wolves ended their time on the Coast after the 2007-2008 season.
The following year, a league change was announced for the 2009-2010 season, and the sport continued as the Mississippi Surge. The Surge played at the Coliseum through the 2013-2014 season before coming to an end.
“It’s so amazing, you know, from showing up here after hockey being gone for so many years and not knowing what the response would be and seeing them get so excited and come out and support us,” said Joe Pace, who plays for the Sea Wolves and is the COO of Biloxi Pro Hockey.
After years without a professional hockey team, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is excited to see the Sea Wolves come back to Biloxi.
“We’re really happy to see the numbers that turned out for three neutral site games,” said McDonnell. “We asked the local fan base, ‘If you’ll support it, we’ll make it work’. They did their part, now it’s time for us to do ours.”
Next up for the team is to move into their new office space and begin planning for the upcoming season, which involves contacting sponsors and collaborating with the Coliseum to establish season tickets.
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