Tri-City Arena Auction

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A July 12 public auction will be held for the Tri-City Arena and the fate of the Tri-City Storm junior hockey team is up in the air.

Wyoming businessman Joel Wiens, who holds the $5-million note on the arena, says he is prepared to take ownership of the facility if he does not find a buyer at the auction.

Wiens began foreclosure proceedings in May on the nearly $10-million arena that opened in November 2000. In the first three years of operation, the arena lost a million dollars.

Wiens also says that once ownership rights of the arena are settled he would like to bring in a United States Basketball League franchise team and call it the Kearney Cranes.

Wiens says he has looked at a three or four way partnership, one of which could be the hockey team.

If he stays as owner, Wiens says the hockey team's contract could be renegotiated.

Storm's Vice President of Operations Greg Shea says the facility's uncertain future has not kept the team from conducting business. The hockey team has begun selling next season's tickets to play in the arena.

She says Storm's joint ownership of the arena continues to be an option.