The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the league’s Board of Governors has voted to grant conditional approval for an expansion membership to Fresno Ice, LLC.
The club, which will be named the Fresno Monsters, will begin play in the 2010-11 season and play its home games at the 7,600-seat Selland Arena in Fresno, Calif. The facility has undergone over $8 million in renovations over the past two years.
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Fresno as the first California member in our league’s storied 34-year history,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “California is an up-and-coming region that continues to develop top-end hockey players and we’re confident the Monsters’ success will open more doors as it relates to prospective memberships in the area.”
The Monsters are currently in their first year of operations in the Tier III Junior A Western State Hockey League (WSHL). The organization will continue to operate an NAHL development team in the WSHL next season.
After 31 games in the WSHL this year, the Monsters hold the league’s best record at 28-2-0-1. They’re also averaging a league-high 2,833 a game in attendance.
"We’re excited to be a part of the NAHL and what the league represents for its players,” said Monsters head coach and general manager Eric Ballard. “The professionalism and approach the NAHL champions is exactly what the Fresno Monsters organization wants for its players, its city and its staff.”
The membership is conditioned upon on the prospective ownership presenting league-required documents to the NAHL office in order to complete the expansion application process. The club may begin operations once all necessary documents are received in an acceptable form.
The North American Hockey League, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior A league boasting 19 teams from across the country, 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.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)