The North American Hockey League has announced that the league’s Board of Governors has voted to grant conditional approval for an expansion franchise to Wenatchee (Washington) Junior Hockey LLC.
The franchise is conditioned upon the ownership group obtaining a lease agreement for use of the Greater Regional Wenatchee Events Center, securing commitments for 1,000 season tickets and $200,000 in corporate sponsorships.
“We’re delighted to welcome Wenatchee to the North American Hockey League family,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “With a committed ownership group and an outstanding facility already under construction, the key pieces are in place to establish a successful organization that will benefit both the Wenatchee community and the NAHL.”
Franchise ownership has been awarded to Wenatchee Junior Hockey LLC, which is headed by longtime resident and prominent businessman Rocky Flynn, who has been actively involved in the Wenatchee minor hockey program as a coach, board member and parent. Flynn’s ties with the community and passion for the sport of hockey will provide the needed leadership for the new franchise.
“We are very pleased to be moving ahead with an NAHL expansion franchise in what will be an outstanding venue,” said Flynn. “We intend to deliver on our promise of providing an excellent, affordable family entertainment option to the area sports fan while becoming actively involved in all facets of our community.
“We signed a term sheet for use of the Event Center with Global Entertainment of Tempe, Arizona, in September 2006 and have been working very hard to secure a team ever since. We look forward to completing our lease document quickly so that we can bring our team to town this fall.”
Other owners include Elliott Severson, who has a home in Leavenworth, Wash., and Bill Stewart, of Faribault, Minn.
Severson is an owner of SR Development LLC, a real estate development and investment company which acquires and develops office, retail, multi-family, residential and assisted living projects.
Stewart serves as president of his own company, Zephyr Bay Sports Partners LLC, which owns interests in minor league hockey, baseball and soccer teams and a passive interest in the Milwaukee Mile racetrack.
“We believe Wenatchee can become one of the premier franchises of the NAHL once it secures a reasonable lease with the management of the facility, Global Entertainment,” Flynn added.
The oldest and largest junior league in the United States, the North American Hockey League, a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior A league boasting 18 teams from across the country, including the esteemed USA Hockey National Team Development Program, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey.