- Knights 'not dead and buried yet'
- Players vow to fight on despite owners' withdrawal
- Canberra Knights on thin ice after 33 years
The Canberra Knights players have set an ambitious target of raising $100,000 through public support to resurrect the team in the Australian Ice Hockey League.
The Knights have until 8pm Monday to meet the requirements to be readmitted to the AIHL for this season.
They need to satisfy three key requirements - that they are financially viable, they can field a competitive team and that they have an agreement to train and play at a rink.
Knights captain Mark Rummukainen will hold talks with Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre manager John Raut on Friday afternoon to begin discussions on an agreement to use the venue.
As of 11am Friday, they had attracted $8695 in donations to go directly to the team, including one anonymous donation of $5000.
They hope to reach a goal of $50,000 in donations, while generating another $50,000 as part of 200 memberships sold for $250 each.
Knights officials are hoping to arrange a meeting with ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr to discuss retaining their current government funding of $29,000 per year.
Rummukainen said in a radio interview with 2CC on Friday that they are confident they can be financially viable.
"We had a meeting last night, put all the costs together, had a quick look at what money we can get it in, so financially we think we can get it done," Rummukainen said.
"If we can sell enough memberships and we've got a government grant involved, we can cover a lot of the costs already.
"We want to get a committee together to run the club more like a business, run it efficiently and make it as financially viable as we possibly can.
"The overwhelming support we have from local supporters has been fantastic."
Raut had held the licence for the Knights for the past 32 years before deciding to withdraw the team on Wednesday.
He had claimed it cost the Knights between $160,000 and $170,000 annually to compete in the AIHL, but it is understood rival teams run on budgets of less than $100,000.
The Knights struggled to be competitive last season, but Rummukainen believed they could increase player depth.
"Not overnight, but we'd like to put measures into work on junior development which hasn't really been a focus ... ever," he said.
"I think player depth can be overcome and then obviously we start working on development from the grassroots upwards.
"We can turn it around, no question."
Rummukainen said the players had respected Raut's decision to step aside given his lengthy contribution to the sport.
"The guys were a little bit upset and hurt at maybe the way things were done, but we can't burn bridges," he said.
"I'm not out to demonise John.
"He's done a fantastic thing for the team over 32 years of existence and kept it afloat for so long."
The AIHL season is scheduled to start on April 12.
Rival teams have already booked their flights and accommodation for games originally set to be played in Canberra in 2014.
Donations to the Knights can be made at https://www.mycause.com.au/page/canberraaihlteam
- With Will Brodie