Minor League to be Based in Northeastern United States and Canada
Syracuse, N.Y. (Monday, February 15, 2010) – A new player will enter into the minor league hockey landscape this fall, with recent announcements indicating that the Federal Hockey League (FHL) will launch later this year. Three teams have committed to the FHL for its inaugural 2010-11 season, and the league will focus its efforts on the Northeastern region of the United States and across the Canadian border.
“This combination of passionate, committed owners in hometown markets that care deeply about the sport has inspired me to take on the role of commissioner,” FHL Commissioner Don Kirnan said of the proposed league. “We’ve been in this sport for decades. We’ve learned how to do things right, and we believe that our recovering economy will welcome this new business venture.”
Kirnan, a member of USA Hockey’s Junior Council, is a Syracuse-based businessman who also serves as the Commissioner of the Empire Junior Hockey League in northern New York. His association with hockey at the youth level played a dominating role in his decision to become a founding member of the FHL.
“One of our motivating factors is the amount of young talent that is available in junior and intercollegiate programs throughout the northeast,” Kirnan continued. “We will provide the opportunity for players to advance their pro athlete careers, hopefully on the way to the NHL.”
Another member of the FHL executive staff will be Rich Lisk, who will be serving as Executive Vice President of Marketing & Business Development for the league. Lisk brings a wealth of sports experience to the FHL, as he previously worked with both the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and Trenton Titans, who are now the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. He was also the General Manager of the formerly Bon Jovi owned Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League (AFL), who led the AFL in attendance and won the final Arena Bowl championship before the league ceased operations two years ago. Arena Football One has since revived the arena game and will kick off in April.
“It is a unique challenge to market affordable family entertainment as part of sports competition, and we have a successful model to replicate,” Lisk commented. “Credibility is critical, and community relations is also key. Our ownership groups have those things figured out, and we have plenty of lead time to create and nurture the fan bases that will drive our success.”
The three clubs who have committed for the 2010-11 season are the Danbury (CT) Whalers, Rome (NY) Frenzy and Thousand Islands (NY) Privateers. Potential markets for the upcoming year include Ottawa, Brooklyn, Jamestown (NY) and Philadelphia.
For additional information regarding the Federal Hockey League, visit www.theFederalHockeyLeague.com.