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Rolly: Utah Blaze now a team without a home

Published June 21, 2013 9:43 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As of Thursday, the Utah Blaze do not have a home field to play on for the remainder of the Arena Football League's 2013 season.

The Blaze, who play their indoor football games at EnergySolutions Arena, reportedly are $120,000 in arrears in rent payments to the arena and have not made a payment yet this year, despite having played six home games already.

The Larry H. Miller Group had given the Blaze until 5 p.m. Wednesday to meet their rent obligations or be evicted as a tenant. When the deadline was not met, the Blaze were officially eliminated as an active tenant of the arena, said Linda Luchetti, director of communications for the Larry H. Miller Group.

"The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies is very familiar with the challenges of operating sports franchises and has been working with the Utah Blaze in good faith to find a solution to outstanding contractual obligations," she said in a prepared statement.

"Because these ongoing issues haven't been resolved, the Blaze is currently not an active tenant of EnergySolutions Arena. We recognize the tremendous value of the Blaze to the community and hope that the team is able to succeed in fulfilling the terms of their contract and continuing the season at our facility."

Blaze spokesman Mike Dijulio, who was in Washington with the team Thursday as they prepared for a Friday game with the Spokane Shock, said the Blaze have lined up a new investor and that will solve cash flow problems. He said the team is waiting for the Arena Football League to approve the investor.

Luchetti said if that occurs and the Blaze meet the rental obligations before the season's end, the Blaze would be reinstated as an active tenant and would be allowed to complete the rest of their home games at EnergySolutions Arena.

The team's next scheduled home game is June 29 against the San Jose Sabercats. After that, there is only one more scheduled home game, the last game of the season July 27 against the Cleveland Gladiators.

The favored one • The House Republican Caucus hearing to determine what to do about embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow was open to the public Wednesday, but there were precious few seats available to anyone besides the legislators themselves.

The House did accommodate public interest by live-streaming the hearing on the Internet, but those who wanted to physically attend had to get to the hearing an hour-and-a-half before it began at 11:30 to secure one of the 10 available seats.

Several people were turned away because of the lack of seating — save one.

Just before the hearing began and everyone had taken their seats, strutting through the back door of the caucus room was Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka.

The leader of the conservative duchy was escorted to a strategic place in the room, and a folding chair was brought in for her comfort.

No news on whether legislative interns were chartered to fan Queen Gayle while she partook of the proceedings.

The tradition lives • The folks in charge of new locations for the Dunkin' Donuts national chain apparently do their research to place their shops where they will get the most business.

The first of 22 Dunkin' Donuts shops to be built in Utah over the next five years will open Tuesday at 217 E. 400 South, down the street from where the new Salt Lake City Police Department building is being constructed.

You know. Cops and doughnuts. Sort of like a horse and carriage, or love and marriage.

Salt Lake City's finest should be ecstatic about the new doughnut dispenser within walking distance of the home base. They've been deprived of such a perk since the Winchell's Donut shop that was near the existing public safety building at 300 East and 200 South closed several years ago.

prolly@sltrib.com