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Gratz takes reins in Dayton

Dayton GemsBrian Gratz faces the challenge of transitioning the Dayton Gems to the new CHL, as he was named coach and general manager of the team last week.

Gratz signed a two-year deal to run the team. He most recently was head coach/GM of the Jersey Rockhoppers of the Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL) in 2008-2009. While in Jersey, he finished with a record of 32-16-2 and a league championship. He previously was head coach of the Indiana Ice Miners (MAHL).

“Obviously the Central Hockey League is a great opportunity and Dayton is a great hockey market,” he said. “The owners and I are committed to fielding a successful team. Dayton deserves an exciting and winning product and that is what they are going to get. Making the Dayton Gems infuse with the Dayton community is going to be just as important as what we are going to do on the ice.”

Still, the move to the CHL will be a challenge. Dayton averaged 1,300 or so fans per game last season at Hara Arena and had an ownership group yanked by IHL officials.

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