Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert and owners of a minor league hockey team announced Wednesday that minor league hockey is returning to Macon.
Owners of the former Augusta RiverHawks said they're excited to call Macon home for their team. The team is now called the Macon Mayhem. Their home arena is the Macon Centreplex.
The announcement was made at the Macon Marriott City Center with Reichert, hotel officials and team owners Bob and Dianne Kerzner and general manager Mark Richards.
"I told my wife it'd be stupid not to go to Macon," Bob Kerzner said during the press conference. "It's more than a business venture; it's a passion."
The couple has folded teams in three other cities before scoring a five-year deal with Macon.
"We don't want to be the kind of people that wonder what happened," Kerzner said. "We're going to try to make things happen. Just because what happened in the past happened in the past, we have to understand the convention center wasn't here back then, this beautiful hotel wasn't here back then."
Director of sales and marketing for the Marriott and Centreplex, Kevin Dowdell said hockey in Macon is expected to pump a million dollars a year into the local economy.
"They hit downtown, they have dinner, they're going to check into a hotel, not just Marriott, so this is the economic impact that I was looking for," Dowdell said.
"I think you'll find families coming here from all over middle Georgia to enjoy ice hockey," Mayor Reichert said. "I think it's going to be great. It's unique. Where else in this area can you go and watch professional ice hockey?"
An exhibition game is slated for September 2015, with the first official game in October 2015.