The Mahoning Valley Phantoms and the Chevrolet Centre announced today that they have signed a deal to bring Phantoms hockey to the downtown Youngstown arena for the 2008-09 NAHL season.
“We are committed to continuing hockey here in the Mahoning Valley,” says Phantoms president Bruce J. Zoldan, “and when (Chevrolet Centre General Manager) Eric Ryan and the Chevy Centre came to us it was an easy decision to bring Phantoms hockey downtown.”
The Phantoms will play 24 of their 28 home games at “The Chevy,” with the remaining four games to be played at the Ice Zone in Boardman.
Ryan, whose management company, Eric Ryan Productions, runs the Chevrolet Centre, says that bringing the Phantoms in was a very selfless move on the part of Zoldan.
“Bruce Zoldan owns the Ice Zone, and he certainly could’ve just left his team at his arena,” says Ryan, “but he chose to bring the Phantoms here to the Chevy Centre as part of his commitment to hockey here in the Valley.”
Zoldan emphasized the high-level at which the Phantoms play.
“There will be a lot of people who will be pleasantly surprised at the skill level of these players,” he said.
Phantoms coach-GM Bob Mainhardt emphasized the point by calling out 6-foot-5, 220-pound defenseman Carl Nielsen in front of the press conference audience.
“I don’t like hearing the term ‘boys’ in reference to this team,” said Mainhardt, pointing to Nielsen, “and I highly doubt that anyone would want to face this ‘boy’ on the playground.”