RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) – A criminal investigation involving the Rapid City Rush hockey team is under way after the new ownership, Spire Sports Entertainment, discovered major financial improprieties and contacted authorities.
KOTA Territory News has learned the alleged theft totaled more than $500,000 over the course of several years and ended after the new ownership group made changes in the team’s business office earlier last May.
Rapid City Rush President Todd Mackin released the following statement when contacted by KOTA Territory News:
“The Rush contacted law enforcement after our team discovered inconsistencies and irregularities with regard to some bookkeeping handled by a single former employee. The issues were discovered during Spire Hockey’s post-sale payroll and bookkeeping review. As a result, the Rush contacted law enforcement and the Rapid City Police Department, who, in cooperation with the Rush, conducted a review of the matter and decided it warranted opening an active investigation. We appreciate the very detailed and thorough investigation conducted by local law enforcement and federal authorities.”
It's well known that the Rush have struggled financially in recent years, with dwindling crowds, and less success on the ice.
Spire Sports and Entertainment is working to breathe new life into the Rush, with plans of restoring the team to the days when Rush games drew large crowds and a lot of attention.
“Spire Hockey is committed to the financial integrity of the Rush organization and our focus since the sale was completed has been to put the best team on the ice to represent our loyal Rush fans and be one of the best entertainment values in Rapid City,” Mackin’s statement said.
Spire bought into the team in January 2019, when the Rush was struggling to stay afloat.
This news breaks at a tough time for the Rush organization with their new season beginning Oct. 11, with their first home game Oct. 25.