Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Shocker: Moves To Junior Hockey

The last thing we should be talking about with the CHL championship series in full swing is potential changes in the makeup of the CHL. There will be plenty of time next week to sort out all of the rumors as announcements on CHL teams changing leagues will be forthcoming as soon as May 15th. With that said, I came across the article below written by Stephen Heisler of juniorhockey.com that talks about rumors circulating that several CHL franchises past and present are considering a move to junior hockey by moving to the North American Hockey League (NAHL).  I want to emphasize these are all just rumors and should be considered such. The NAHL is often referred to as Tier II junior hockey. Tier I is the United States Hockey League (USHL). Here is a brief description for those not familiar:

Tier I

The United States Hockey League (USHL) is currently the only Tier I league in the country, it consists mostly of teams in the central and Midwestern US. The USHL provides an alternative for kids who want to play in the NCAA. While playing in the USHL, all player expenses are paid for by the team; no membership or equipment fees are charged. Quality of play in the USHL has improved to Canada's Major Junior levels in the past 15 years, with about 10% of NHL players having played USHL in their career (compared with 40% who have played NCAA Division I hockey at some time). Between 80 and 90 percent of USHL players play NCAA hockey, as this is the main reason for playing Tier I instead of Major Junior in Canada.

Tier II

Currently the North American Hockey League is the only Tier II league in the United States. The NAHL is the largest junior hockey league in the US with a significant concentration of teams in the central and southwestern parts of the United States. The NAHL, like the USHL, provides young players an alternative to seek a NCAA scholarship. Rosters are typically filled with those who would not or did not make the roster of a Tier I team. While playing in the NAHL, all player expenses minus room and board are paid for by the team.

Daily Dish: NAHL Southern Shakedown - Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 7 May 2013
By: Stephen Heisler  |  

Rumors are swirling in the North American Hockey League South concerning new teams, moved teams, and another team wanting to drop themselves from professional to junior hockey... well, make that two.
Let's get started.
Texas Tornado and Fort Worth Brahmas - There have been numerous reports out of Dallas that move the Texas Tornado back to North Richland Hills' NYTEX Center to replace the outgoing Central Hockey League's Texas Brahmas. In a strange development, Tony Curtale would not be a part of that transaction but would be a part of a new (or transplanted) NAHL team for Frisco. What is unclear is if this means the team in Frisco would don the purple and black Brahmas jersey (name and logo belong to arena) or resume as the Tornado. Considering that Curtale is rumored to have the Tornado logo tattooed to his backside, one would think that somebody would pay whatever to keep the name in Frisco.
Lubbock Cotton Kings - When it comes to NAHL rumors, it's not very often that local media manages to beat us to the punch. That's exactly what happened on Sunday when Chris Curtis from KCBD in Lubbock, Texas broke this story. From what we have been told, any team going into Lubbock would need to make a sizable investment in a new ice plant, dasher system, glass, and Zamboni. Heck, I'm all for it and would do whatever possible to help.
Tulsa Oilers - The Tulsa Oilers have been a part of the Central Hockey League since the rebirth in 1992. Oilers owner Jeff Lund has been snooping around the NAHL since the prospects showcase in Detroit. Lund, as a principle in the CHL, has also been deeply involved in the planning stages of the proposed CHL junior league that we have been talking about for two years. A few weeks ago, a representative from a group of NAHL South teams met with another from the CHL's junior group. When it was all said and done, the CHL was asking for way too much while giving up very little. The Oilers are now back to the drawing board looking for a mode of operation for the 2013-2014 season. The smart money is on them acquiring a dormant NAHL franchise to replace their professional team.
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees - It's been on again and off again for months. It was going to happen in Laredo and not RGV. It now appears that RGV has beaten Laredo to the punch and has secured an NAHL team for the 2013-2014 season. We are expecting an announcement later this week from South Texas. 

- And this from the local TV station (KOTA) in Rapid City:  From Sports Director Vic Quick. The Rush will make a major announcement next Wednesday, May 15th. It's expected the team will move up to the ECHL.

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