The North American Hockey League announced today that its Board of Governors has approved the transfer of membership of the Motor City Machine.
Headed by Japanese businessman Kenji Yamada, the new ownership group’s ventures include the training and development of hockey players in Japan. Among the Machine’s new owners is Yuji Iwamoto, head coach of Japan’s U20 National Team.
“Detroit is an important part of our geographical footprint and we’re excited to have a committed group positioned in that market with a strong hockey background and a track record of player development,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld.
The manager and team development advisor for Japan’s U20 National Team, Yamada is the founder of the 13 Leaves Ice Hockey School in Tokyo. He has also led multiple projects as a specialist in organizational effectiveness and organizational development for the past 10 years.
Iwamoto played 20 years in Japan’s top league with the Snow Brand team before serving as head coach of that club for three years.
“It’s a dream come true to be a part of the NAHL, a league we truly respect and admire for its level of play and its commitment to developing and advancing its student-athletes,” said Yamada.
“It’s a great honor to be a part of the hockey community in Wyandotte-Detroit area, where so many people are knowledgeable and passionate about the sport,” Iwamoto added.
On the ice, the Machine will be under the guidance of head coach David Cole. No stranger to the NAHL, the Stratford, Ontario, native served as head coach and general manager of the Bozeman Ice Dogs from 1996-99, leading the team to a USA Hockey Junior A National Championship appearance in 1998.
Cole, whose coaching resume extends nearly three decades in the junior ranks, has helped develop and place over 100 athletes in the collegiate and professional hockey ranks.
“I’m excited and proud to be a part of Mr. Yamada’s and Mr. Iwamoto’s vision for the Motor City Machine,” said Cole. “I look forward to rejoining the NAHL; it’s been exciting observing the league's growth and success the last few years.”
Entering its second NAHL season, the team will continue to play its home games out of Yack Arena in Wyandotte, Mich.
The Machine also announced the dates and locations of its three tryout camps: May 29-31 (Troy Sports Center, Troy, Mich.); July 31-August 2 (Niagara University, Dwyer Arena, Niagara Falls, N.Y.); and August 7-9 (ESL Sports Centre, Rochester, N.Y.).
The Machine’s former owners, BAM, LLC, purchased the team two years ago as the Southern Minnesota Express before moving it to Michigan.
For more information on the Machine, e-mail visit MachineHockey.com.