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Wink Hartman looking for new Wings soccer ownership

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 9:52 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 3:36 p.m.

Photos

Since Wink Hartman Sr. announced on the Wichita Wings website Tuesday morning that he’s trying to sell the indoor soccer team, several local and out-of-state buyers have expressed interest.

“Soccer fans are extremely passionate about the game of soccer, and I bet you it wasn’t even out an hour and we had bang, bang, bang calls,” said John Blazek, who is general manager of the Wings and Hartman’s indoor football team, the Wichita Wild.

Blazek said he received an early-afternoon text from Hartman about the calls.

“He said, ‘We have some serious people, so I hope we can get it closed quickly.’ ”

Hartman Sports brought indoor soccer back to Wichita in 2011 by starting a franchise in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

“He’s looking to downsize, spend more time with his race car and the Wild,” Blazek said.

Hartman is an owner in Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, an IndyCar Series team.

He’s also an oilman, a restaurateur and involved in several other businesses.

“He’s spread so thin with all his businesses,” Blazek said. “He feels the Wings need to have an owner who can give 100 percent of their interest.”

Blazek said that’s what the fans deserve.

“It’s just such an incredible following.”

Blazek said he’d been with the Wild a year when Hartman approached him about starting the Wings.

“I said, ‘That’s a no-brainer. You have your own arena.’ ”

Hartman owns Hartman Arena in Park City, where the Wings and Wild play.

Almost immediately, Hartman told Blazek, “I just bought one, and you’re the GM.”

“And I said, ‘Wait a minute, Wink.’ ”

Blazek said, “It’s a fun job. It’s a very busy job.”

Hartman hadn’t tried selling the team before today.

He “wanted to give the MISL time to finish their league championship game … because he’s a team player,” Blazek said.

The MISL season runs from November through March. Hartman’s website post said he hopes to have a new ownership group identified by early summer, when the MISL decides what teams will be in place for next season.

Blazek said he’s not sure what Hartman’s asking price is.

Nor can he say if Hartman is downsizing in any other way, such as selling the Wild or the race team.

“If you ask him today, I don’t think so. If you ask him in six months, I don’t know. … That will be his call.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.

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