From left: Elmira forward Dmytro Babenko shoves Watertown defenseman Justin Coachman during the Watertown Wolves’ home game against the Elmira Enforcers at the Watertown Municipal Arena earlier this tear. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The Watertown Wolves’ season will come down to whether the state will allow them to play this year.

Over the weekend, Wolves owner Andreas Johansson said he remains optimistic there will be an upcoming hockey season for the team.

During a council work session on Monday night, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith said the team’s season depends on whether the state deems it safe for them to play, and if the team will be allowed to draw 50% attendance of the Watertown Municipal Arena’s capacity.

The state has agreed ice hockey is one of the sports that can be played during the pandemic. The mayor doesn’t know whether that means just youth hockey with no fans, or teams like the Wolves, which depends on drawing fans to the games.

“That’s an answer I’m looking for,” the mayor said.

Mr. Johansson has told Mayor Smith if the attendance can be 50%, the team will move forward and play. If it’s not that much, the Wolves will go dark this season.

The team has asked that the season be extended three weeks into mid-May if they play.

The Wolves also would like for games to begin before 7:30 p.m., but that would depend on whether the team can get the youth hockey and figure skating organizations to work something out, the mayor said.

On Monday night, council members would not lower practice time from $80 as requested by the Wolves.

The team does intend to install a permanent video board in the arena that would be used during Wolves’ games and other events.

The team also hopes to raise money by getting a sponsor that would get the naming rights to the team’s locker room. Mr. Johansson is one of eight league owners who hope their respective teams will indeed play a regular season at some point.

The Federal Prospects Hockey League hopes to start the season during the third week of December.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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