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TcFlint1

Port Huron relocating to Pa.

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TcFlint1

Unfortunate for fans in the Blue Water City. Does Flint (Michigan), 60 miles away stay or go? Would love to see both in Single A Pro againin both cities, but not sure if that will ever happen.

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Mr Ricochet

Hey TC, how have you been? Did you forget your log in info on your last screen name? If you want a new password for it PM me and I'll get you one for your old screen name.

 

Missed this, thanks for the heads up. Port Huron to relocate to Connellsville, PA to become Keystone Ice Miners

 

 


The team will play out of the Ice Mine, which is a 4,000-seat, multi-purpose arena located 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to the NAHL team, the Ice Mine is home to the Ice Miners youth hockey organization as well as the Connellsville High School hockey program and the Washington & Jefferson College hockey team.

“This is one of the fastest growing youth hockey markets in the country and this team will be a great fit for our community and our hockey families

 

 

Well you knew the Falcons probably wouldn't be back if management of the arena was wooing the Indy Ice only a month or two ago.

 

Never heard of this arena, and it's a big one. Lotta hockey at many levels played out of the place. Seems like a decent spot to give a franchise a try. .......Anyone know anything about this arena or area?

 

Single A in Port Huron? Honestly maybe a year or two without the sport may help in the long run. With the OHL across the river, McMorran seemingly on its last legs I wouldn't bet a dollar on what's next for Port Huron Hockey.

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TcFlint1

Sent you a PM. Thank you for the welcome back. Not sure what the future holds for PH. Perhaps the USHL is in their future, not sure. Flint will have much increased travel cost in the NAHL. Wondering out loud if the Federal League could be a possibility or more far-fethed, the SPHL (after them adding Bloomington and Peoria).

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Mr Ricochet

Sent you a PM. Thank you for the welcome back. Not sure what the future holds for PH. Perhaps the USHL is in their future, not sure. Flint will have much increased travel cost in the NAHL. Wondering out loud if the Federal League could be a possibility or more far-fethed, the SPHL (after them adding Bloomington and Peoria).

 

 

Bloomy is one and done in the SPHL. They will be an expansion franchise in the USHL next year along with Madison, WI.

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Mr Ricochet

TJHN Port Huron to relocate to Connellsville, PA

 

 


When it comes to the hockey business, and the success or failure of a franchise, nothing is more important than the economic health of the community you place the franchise.

 

While Port Huron Michigan has a wealth of hockey tradition, it certainly did not have the disposable income to support a winning franchise.

 

It was roughly three months ago when McMorran Arena informed team owner Maribeth Hayes that they were looking to bring in a USHL franchise and that her team would be the odd man out. This information was provided with only a week before the NAHL’s winter meetings in Troy Michigan.

 

 

TJHN Connellsvile comes out to support the Ice Miners

 

 


“It was exciting to see the support of this community on our first official night in town.” Said Head Coach Michael Gershon “The local press came out earlier today, and now we have kids, and parents here playing floor hockey and getting involved.”

 

“We printed up three hundred season ticket order forms for the night, and we had to run more copies before the night ended. I would say that’s a pretty good indication of how the community will support this team.” Said Maribeth Hayes Team Owner

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TcFlint

Wow. Peoria is really on an island now.

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ro21

I would say at least a year a way would be good. The City needs to decide what Mcmorran will be , They have SMG coming into manage the facility in July and it will have to be decided what to do, Renovate or what , The Ice surface needs to be lengthened because at some point all leagues will demand regulation ice surfaces. Plus the new organization that comes in with a team needs a good year to drum up support.

 

To me most of this is economy driven as Port Huron really does not have the economy. The last two years it seems as the falcon organization somewhat had there act together but the first year of the Hicke fiasco and then the Second years of the Steve Shannon fiasco did not help them. If they keep going like they are they have a great chance for success in PA. But in PH memories are hard to over come for any hockey team at this point.

 

As far as the future I would like to see the USHL, but it is also hard for me to believe a league on more notch up from the NAHL would even thing of coming in. Be it just to much hockey with Sarnia, Detroit, Toronto so close I don't know. I sometime look at this and wonder, Sarnia and Lambton county as far as population are even with Port Huron and St. Clair County but it just does not translate into attendance for Port Huron. I am sure outside interests look at the same thing and keep giving PH a shot . But time needs to go by.

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Johnstown

Connellsville is a small, somewhat poor town in Fayette County Pennsylvania. The county itself has a population of over 130,000 and is the home for two of the largest resorts in the state. The good news is that the rink in Connellsville is the only one in the county, so every kid who plays youth hockey there knows it as their home rink. If the NAHL team makes a strong connection with all of the youth teams, they will probably end up drawing more fans than they did in Port Huron.

 

The arena itself, is more of a large rec rink. It is situated a couple miles outside of Connellsville in a rural/residential area. The bank that currently owns the building I believe, gained control of it when they foreclosed on the previous owner. They have been making improvements over the last couple of years. The stands consist of cement floors, but only backless bleacher type seating. They claim that it can seat from 4000 to 4500 people, but this seems physically impossible. I don't know how they came up with the 4000 figure, maybe they measured the length of all of the bleachers and allotted a few inches for each person?

 

I guess the bottom line is if they manage to draw fans from about a 20 mile radius of Connellsville, they should be a financially stable team. I know everyone from Johnstown is hoping they are a financial success.

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Mr Ricochet

 

I guess the bottom line is if they manage to draw fans from about a 20 mile radius of Connellsville, they should be a financially stable team. I know everyone from Johnstown is hoping they are a financial success.

 

 

Nice post, Jtown.......... Do you know some of the history surrounding this arena/area? Have they ever had pro or juniors before? ......That's a big facility to only house youth and HS hockey.

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Johnstown

As far as I know, they have never had any type of professional sports team in Fayette County. The rink itself isn't very old, but they have only had mainly youth and high school hockey played there. I think that the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins may have played a few games there. It has been the home for a nearby college club hockey team, Washington and Jefferson College from Washington Pa which is about 40 miles away. Their claim that it seats 4000, in my opinion seems greatly exaggerated.

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kwey24

Well, so much for the FHL team in Connellsville...

 

That said, it'd be better for the FHL to get Port Huron than Connellsville. Not sure any team can move into Port Huron this fast for 2014-15, though, and do things properly. No way the USHL tries to put a USHL team in Port Huron with a few months' lead time. USHL is too professional and if relocating Indy to Port Huron for a period of time, they would have taken it already, I'd think.

 

The USHL at McMorran... that'd give Buccaneer Arena some competition...

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arlingtonway

I was told by a few people that the Western PA FHL team was looking to split time between Connellsville and Belle Vernon. with the NAHL in Connellsville I'd imagine the guys behind the FHL team would just move to Belle Vernon full time..

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kwey24

Has Belle Vernon been repaired after the roof collapsed from that big snow storm a few years back?

 

Will Faddis and Logue own the team again? (They owned the Mon Valley Thunder of the MAHL) I always felt bad for Faddis and Logue, because they were kind of enough to step in and purchase that team, but they weren't fully aware what they were getting into.

 

An NAHL team in Connellsville and an FHL team in Belle Vernon? That's too close, in my opinion, if that's the plan. I wouldn't place a team elsewhere in the Pittsburgh metro, either. You'd just get lost. Last I knew, Canonsburg was just too busy to host a pro team (they'd have an FHL-worthy building, although I don't recall it having the parking you might want for such.

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arlingtonway

They did fix the roof, (photos on this page HERE).

The Western PA FHL owner is John Canterberry. I know he has at least one partner whos name escapes me at the moment.... Sadly I really dont think the teams being close together will matter that much becasue even if it was just the NAHL team or just the FHL team in the area they would both eventual fold or relocate citing a lack of fan interest.

Having seen a few MAHL games while they lasted there just didnt seem to be any interest in the area

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kwey24

Arlingtonway, the other owner is Don Hoffmann.

The FHL team playing out of Rostraver is actually preferable. Although the Ice Gardens isn't as nice as Connellsville, it is a far superior location. Rostraver is in the Mon Valley, and the Mon Valley is lined with small cities from West Mifflin and McKeesport 25 minutes' drive to the north of the arena down to Brownsville, which is about 28 minutes' drive to the south. Rostraver is close to two interstates and PA 51 leads right to the arena, which makes south suburban Pittsburgh suburbs such as Baldwin and Whitehall (that area) part of the possible fan base. West Mifflin and McKeesport both have about 20,000 people, while Monongahela (the city), Donora, Monessen, Charleroi, Clairton, California, and Glassport all have a few thousand. A Mon Valley FHL team could also fight for fans in the Greensburg area, which has over 20,000 people (county seat of Westmoreland County), which is about half an hour away.

Obviously, Rostraver could use upgrades in seating (from wood benches with no backs to almost anything), but it's not as isolated as Connellsville. Connellsville has 10,000 people, Greensburg is of equal distance as it is to Rostraver, and Connellsville would have sole claim to Uniontown, but, the fans from the Mon Valley area aren't going to travel the 30-minutes plus to Connellsville when they have an FHL team right there.

Apparently the FHL team is going to be named the Magic, based on its Facebook page. The logo is terrible and its going by the SWPA Magic, currently. I really hope it 1) changes its logo and 2) goes by Mon Valley Magic. The team isn't going to draw from all over Southwestern PA. It makes more sense to just lay claim to the Mon Valley, which is much more specific. Try saying/shouting Southwest Pennsylvania Magic in your PA announcer voice to introduce the team...it sounds ridiculous and is too long for marketing purposes.

I hope that Canterberry and Hoffman have the money necessary to properly bankroll an FHL team. Don Kirnan has been quoted many times as saying an FHL budget is between $500,000 to $600,000. That's half an SPHL team, but still well above figures typically quoted by all the failed Single-A leagues the past 15 years. A properly marketed Mon Valley FHL team could have a chance. The biggest problem for Faddis and Logue, who owned the Mon Valley Thunder, is they bought into the team too late, and they learned no real marketing had been done in the community leading up to the season.

Speaking of the FHL, the Kirnans will no longer own an FHL team in Watertown. They opted not to apply for a franchise agreement at the Watertown arena in deference to a consortium of locals owners. The local owners could assume the Privateers mantle for free or could start with a brand new franchise, new name, etc., according to the local paper.

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20140514/NEWS03/705139586

Of note, that says Kirnan said the FHL had commitments for teams in six communities, which means at least one more team will be announced. The Magic's Facebook page states that Winston-Salem will join the league and a team in New Hampshire is also in the works. I've read a group in Wisconsin has also expressed interest. The Magic also note playing in Huntington, West Virginia, is being explored by a group if ice making capabilities can be restored.

The NAPHL has not applied for a franchise agreement in Watertown, despite naming its second team earlier this week just up the road in Massena, New York. The Massena NAPHL team will be owned, at least in part, by Darby Oakes, who owned the Akwesasne Warriors in the end (bought them from Bassad Awad, if I recall). The Warriors were assumed to have left the league after they did not respond to requests by the FHL for a business plan and other information. Of note, at that time, the FHL was recommending playing at least some games in Massena. Massena's arena is more in line with what I'd hope to see for an NAPHL team (unlike the Peter Foote Arena, which wouldn't clear for an MnJHL team). It seats 1,200 and actually was the home of the Central Junior Hockey League's Massena Americans from 1988 through the end of the 1991-92 season, when that team moved to Cornwall (after that team lost its AHL team).

Edited by kwey24

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arlingtonway

Kwey- Great stuff as always...

If the FHL is to make a go in the Mon Valley they need a sold marketing push... they'd really have to beat the streets just to get into all those towns, and local media coverage would be especially beneficial. the Mon Valley Thunder never really got an of that.

Im all for more hockey in PA (as a life long resident) I love being able to go on a road trip without leaving the state. I'm also interested in seeing some of the top end Jr. leagues moving into the region

I had not seen the SWPA Magic Facebook page. but know from several conversations that that is in fact the team name. and that might be the worst logo Ive ever seen (period)

The move to local ownership (a 6 person group) in Watertown will be a great thing. combined with the planned improvements to the arena it could really stabilize that franchise which has always seemed to have one foot in the grave.

The NAPHL is a pipe dream they keep announcing teams that don't have leases, (they still don't have one in North Adams and the arena in Massena hasn't spoken to them since they made an initial presentation months ago

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kwey24

Magic announced on their Facebook page that Rostraver is the home rink. Supposedly more announcements tomorrow and a more formal press announcement next week.

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