FLORENCE, S.C. – Despite denials from team officials, the Carolina Havoc is not invited to return next season to the Florence Center.
Florence Mayor Pro Tempore Frank J. “Buddy” Brand, who serves on the Florence Center city-county commission, told the Florence City Council on Tuesday afternoon that the Havoc, an American Arena League team, will not be welcomed back in 2020 at the center.
"It's 100 percent reportable, as far as I am concerned," Brand said.
Brand told the council the football team was not good advertising for the community.
Later, he added that he had received several phone calls from people indicating that the games were not family friendly because of some of the language used on the field. In addition, he added, the center does not want to incur wear and tear on its properties if the Havoc is going to draw 200 people to its games.
The team disputed this news.
General manager Steve Smith said it is "100 percent false" that the team will not be at the Florence Center next year.
“We used this year as our incubation year, so basically we used this as our first year here to get our feet on the ground and establish our product and we’ve done that,” Smith said. “We went undefeated [at the Florence Center]. We may have lost the conference championship on Saturday, but we’ll be back next year. With what league? I don’t know, because our league contract is year to year, so I can’t speak on that, but I do know that we will 100 percent be back for the 2020 season at ‘The Den.’”
Havoc co-owner Chris Duffy added that the team has every intention of remaining in Florence.
“We have all intentions on coming back, but we’re beginning our youth indoor program on the same game days,” Duffy said in a text message. “We are starting Havoc Heroes, where kids in the schools will be able to come for free in large groups.”
Duffy said the team also plans on holding football camps.
“Together with our partners and the city, we will only get larger,” Duffy added.
The Havoc concluded their 2019 campaign with a 52-38 playoff loss to the Carolina Energy at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. The Havoc finished the year 8-2 overall and won the league’s Atlantic Division.
The Energy will take on the West Virginia Roughriders for the 2019 Jack Bowman Cup on June 29 at the WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.
The Havoc relocated from Buford, Georgia, to Florence for the 2019 season. Formerly known as the Atlanta Havoc, the team played in 2018 at the Buford Arena.