Everett Hawks are done, but football may not be

EVERETT — The Everett Hawks are dead, but arena football fans could see another team in the city’s events center next season.

Amid conflicting comments from Sam Adams, majority owner of the Everett Hawks, and Michael Tuckman, the man who says he plans to bring a new team here, they agree on one thing: After three seasons, the Hawks are done.

“The Everett Hawks will not be back next year,” Adams said Monday via telephone from the training camp of the NFL’s Denver Broncos. “I informed the league three weeks ago.”

Adams, who also has owned an arena football team in Cincinnati, said he has lost more than $3 million since launching the Hawks in 2005. He insisted, however, that he will “make good” on unpaid financial obligations.

He said playing for three NFL teams in three seasons hampered his ability to run the Hawks effectively. After an impressive debut season in the National Indoor Football League, the team has had little on-field success since moving up to arenafootball2, posting back-to-back losing seasons.

“I’ve been unable to devote the time it requires to make it a quality product like (Everett’s other sports franchises) the Silvertips and AquaSox,” Adams said. “I had bad luck in finding people that could operate the team efficiently. We failed the fans and I take responsibility for it.”

Michael Tuckman, introduced as the team’s minority owner at a game last month, said fans shouldn’t despair. He plans to meet soon with management of the Comcast Arena at Everett Events Center, where the Hawks have played. The team’s three-year lease expired this summer.

He said he would like to operate an af2 team and a Continental Basketball Association team in Everett, with sister teams for both in Kent. But he said a new lease arrangement is needed with the events center to make it work.

“I’m looking for what amounts to a long-term partnership with the Everett Events Center. We don’t need to get rich off this, but we can’t lose hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.

Any agreement will have to deal with the outstanding debt owed to the facility. Kim Bedier, events center general manager, confirmed Monday that the Everett Hawks owe “just more than” $60,000. She said both Adams and Tuckman have told her the debt will be repaid.

The arena isn’t the only one owed by the Hawks. Tuckman estimated Adams’ team left behind debts in the “mid-six figures.” Those include unpaid tax obligations to the state.

On Sunday, a moving team loaded the remaining furnishings from the Hawks’ office on Everett Avenue. That was done at the direction of Adams.

The action was unnecessary, Tuckman said.

“He went into the office yesterday with a moving van. There was no need for that. His plan was to get one of his cronies to move everything into a moving van and park it on the street until further notice,” he said.

In July, at the Hawks’ season finale, team officials introduced Tuckman as team president and the new owner of 49 percent of the organization. The Seattle man also has plans to start a CBA team in Vancouver, B.C.

But Adams on Monday disputed Tuckman’s involvement with the Hawks. He said he didn’t know why team officials introduced him as president and part-owner.

Tuckman contradicts Adams’ story, and the league won’t say exactly who may or may not own rights to the team here.

Marc Lestinsky, spokesman at the arenafootball2’s league office in Chicago, said in an e-mail that “we do not comment on our member teams’ business.”

Whatever the case, Tuckman seems to be in the best position to save arena football in Everett. Assuming he can forge a new lease agreement with the center, he would like to have a team here. But it won’t be called the Hawks, Tuckman said.

“It’s a new day and that’s what I’m going to bring to the table. I’m going to do this thing right,” he said.

Bedier said she has an obligation to make sure the events center makes money. But she’d like to work something out with Tuckman if possible.

“We’re enthusiastic about having football in some shape or form next year,” she said.

Mike Benbow contributed to this story.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com

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