The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that its Board of Governors has approved the relocation of the Motor City Metal Jackets’ membership to Jamestown, N.Y., for the 2011-12 season.
The team, which is owned by a group headed by Kenji Yamada, will be renamed the Jamestown Ironmen and play its home games out of the 2,685-seat James Saving Bank Arena in Jamestown, which is located 75 miles southwest of Buffalo.
“Since he’s been associated with our league, Kenji Yamada has shown a tremendous commitment to the growth and success of the NAHL,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “He and his staff deliver a first-class product, both from a business perspective and in terms of player development, and we’re looking forward to him carrying that winning combination into the Jamestown market for years to come.”
“I’m thankful for the support the NAHL, the arena and the local community has shown for our organization,” said Yamada. “Our relocation is sure to be a positive move for junior hockey in Western New York and the surrounding areas, and it’s our hope to showcase a competitive and entertaining product for both the community and the NAHL.”
“The Lake Chautauqua and Jamestown areas give the team the opportunity to be the premier hockey program in the region,” said Ironmen vice president David Cole. “Western New York has a great hockey tradition and a first-class facility like the Jamestown Saving Bank Ice Arena gives our organization and the NAHL the opportunity to provide hockey players an ideal platform to develop and great entertainment for local fans.”
Dan Daikawa has been named the team’s head coach. He replaces Cole, who served as the organization’s head coach its first two seasons.
The last four years, Daikawa served as the head coach of the Miami University club team of the American Collegiate Hockey Association where he guided the program to four consecutive national tournament appearances.
“With Dan’s experience and professionalism, I expect him to instill a strong work ethic in our team and a high level of player development,” said Yamada. “He’s also a very admirable person to work with, so I strongly believe we can build a competitive team - one that will prove successful on the ice and in the community - among our management, staff and players.”
“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to lead the Ironmen and begin our quest to establish the team as a top NAHL program, on and off the ice,” said Daikawa. “I'd like to thank Ironmen president Kenji Yamada for the trust he's placed in me to pursue this great challenge.”
As a player, Daikawa skated in the United States Hockey League before playing at Miami University from 1991-94. He was named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team his freshman season and was a member of the Redhawks team that advanced to the NCAA tournament in 1992.
After college, Daikawa embarked on a successful playing career in Japan, where he played 11 years in the JIHL and AHL. He was a four-time member of the Japanese National Team, playing on four Pool A World Championship squads, and was a member of the Japanese Olympic Team that competed in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.
“The NAHL is a great league and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Daikawa added.
Daikawa and his wife, Lori, have three children: Kullan, Makenna and Cooper.
Motor City, which played in suburban Detroit, was a member of the NAHL since the 2008-09 season. It played the 2008-09 season as the Motor City Machine.