The junior North American Hockey League) (NAHL) has awarded an expansion franchise for Amarillo, Texas, to begin play for the 2010-11 season.
The team, which is owned by a group headed by Bill Yuill, president of Consolidated Sports Holdings USA, Inc., will play its home games out of the 4,870-seat Cal Farley Coliseum in Amarillo.
“Amarillo has championed a great hockey tradition over the years, and we’re looking forward to writing the next chapter,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “Not only will the city have the opportunity to watch some of best up-and-coming hockey players from around world in a first-class facility, it will also reap the benefits of an ownership group committed to the community’s prosperity off the ice.”
A native and resident of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Yuill, who is also chairman and CEO of The Monarch Corporation, a privately owned company with three operating divisions — communications, investments and sports franchises — has owned and operated baseball and hockey teams for over three decades.
Consolidated Sports Holdings executive vice president Gary Gelinas, who boasts extensive experience owning and managing sports franchises, will oversee the operations of the Amarillo team, which will be the third NAHL club to call Texas home, joining the Texas Tornado and the Wichita Falls Wildcats.
“Our organization is delighted to be coming to Amarillo with a level of hockey that’s both entertaining and intense,” said Yuill. “The Amarillo market allows us to develop team rivalries with nearby towns and cities and we look forward to presenting a competitive level of hockey that the fans are sure to enjoy,” said Yuill.
“Geographically, Amarillo is an ideal market as we continue to build our Southern footprint,” Frankenfeld added. “The team’s presence will also generate instant rivalries throughout the region, which is exciting for both our fans and our players.”
The facilities of the Amarillo Civic Center, which includes the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts and Cal Farley Coliseum, which is well designed for junior hockey, are conveniently located in downtown Amarillo.
“We’re thrilled to have the North American Hockey League come to Amarillo,” said Civic Center manager Sherman Bass. “Mr. Yuill and his management team are committed to the sport’s success in our market, and, not only will ice hockey thrive, but associated events such as public skating, youth hockey and figure skating will continue to be offered.”
“The NAHL boasts many of the top junior hockey facilities in all of North America, and the Cal Farley Coliseum is no exception,” said Frankenfeld. “From the management team to the arena itself, it’s a perfect fit for our league.”
The team’s nickname and logo will be announced in the coming weeks.