Jr. Blues owner Ferguson enjoying the ride
October 11, 2013
Springfield Junior Blues owner Dan Ferguson has been busy getting things ready at Nelson Center for tonight's home opener against Sault Ste. Marie (photos by Dan Spencer, Springfield Journal Register)
By Dave Kane, Springfield Journal Register
Dan Ferguson was able to exhale a little bit Thursday morning.
The mascot outfit arrived with one day to spare. “I ordered it three months ago,” said Ferguson, owner of the Springfield Junior Blues, who open their North American Hockey League regular-season home schedule against Sault Ste. Marie at 7:05 tonight at Nelson Center.
“The thing I didn’t realize was that (mascot uniform) business just booms during the summer. They have to do stuff for all the colleges, so they get backed up.”
The mascot, which won’t be unveiled until tonight, is one of the little things Ferguson was able to pursue for this, his second year as team owner. Ferguson also invested in an improved sound system and special lights above center ice at the Springfield Park District-owned “Nelly,” as some Junior Blues fans call it.
“I got four of those speakers and they’re phenomenal,” Ferguson said. “It’s like a rock show in here if you want it to be. The lights are more like entertainment lights. They won’t affect the game or anything. Hopefully we’ll get them working before (tonight), or I’ll look like a fool.”
In their 21st season, the Junior Blues lead the North American Hockey League (NAHL) in longevity. But it’s just the second year under Ferguson’s ownership. After a hurry-up effort to buy the team in the spring of 2012, the 43-year-old Ferguson said this feels like the first true season of ownership.
The northern Californian, an avid fan of the San Jose Sharks, formed a partnership (FERZOW, LLC) with Junior Blues coach Tony Zasowski.
“(Zasowski’s) taken the professional risk with his coaching career, and I’ve taken the professional risk with my money,” said Ferguson, who co-founded and co-owned a succesful Silicon Valley print publishing company. At the end of the day, it’s a partnership. That’s kind of the way to look at it.”
Zasowski, a Chicago-area native, developed a friendship with Ferguson when they both were involved in youth hockey in the San Jose area. When word got out in early 2012 that the Junior Blues’ future was in doubt, Zasowski remembered coming to Springfield to watch the team during its first heyday era in the 1990s.
He convinced Ferguson that the Junior Blues were worth bidding for. But everything was rushed last season, even though the young team squeezed into the NAHL playoffs on the final weekend of the regular season.