With little or no warning, a disappointing season for the Quad City Mallards has become even more disappointing. Tuesday owner Jordan Melville announced the team will cease operations at the end of the season.
Coach Phil Axtell says it was a complete shock, and he never expected it, but he believes it was a personal and business decision - that Melville couldn't continue losing money on the team.
Axtell says his goal now is to keep the Mallards focused for their final games.
"It's a game we've loved since we were a kid and whether this team will be here or not next year in this league, there's going to be other teams and they're going to be looking for jobs. How we react is going to be under a microscope now so moving forward the right way is crucial for all of us. "
Defenseman Greg Amlong says he faced the same situation last year when his team in Elmira folded at the end of the season.
"We were told with 15 to 20 games left - there's not going to be a team here next year. Everyone at that point was fighting for a job next year so we stuck together and played hard for each other so that way others could get jobs again."
Coach Axtell says he was already preparing for next season, bringing in prospective players and holding tryouts.
In all the closing affects 22 players and 10 staff, plus the possible indirect impact on the TaxSlayer Center and downtown Moline businesses.