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IHL: Albany Choppers

The Albany Choppers have to be one of the worst business decisions a minor league franchise has ever made. From 1952-1999 the Choppers were the Fort Wayne Komets in Indiana, a team that is an institution in Fort Wayne to this day. But in 1999, owner David Welker decided to move the franchise east to the New York State capital of Albany and turn them into the Albany Choppers. The supermarket chain Price Chopper became a part owner, hence the name and color scheme. The team also picked up Alain Lemieux, brother of Mario, along the way. The move to Albany didn't go well. As part of the agreement to let them move east -- further east than the IHL had ever been -- they had to pick up the travel tab for some of the teams coming to visit them. They also faced competition from local college and AHL teams in the area, and played to small crowds in a 15,000 seat arena. Given all this financial pressure, the Choppers would fold after only 55 games in Albany.