The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the Fresno Monsters are reactivating and relocating their membership to Wenatchee, Washington and will play as the Wenatchee Wild beginning in the 2013-14 season. The team will play out of the Town Toyota Center, which had been home to the Wild for the past five seasons. The NAHL is the oldest and largest junior hockey league of its kind in the United States, with 24 teams representing 13 states.
The Town Toyota Center purchased the Wenatchee Wild name and logo from the previous ownership group, which relocated their NAHL membership to Hidalgo, Texas back on May 14th. Fresno Owner/Governor David White then reactivated and relocated his membership to Wenatchee to serve as the new home for the NAHL club, which had been in Fresno the last three seasons.
White said his first experience at a Wild game at the Town Toyota Center was during the 2009-10 season and that he was instantly drawn to the atmosphere and support created by the fans.
“We fell in love with the whole environment up in Wenatchee when we attended a home game. From the reaction of the fans, to the venue, to the atmosphere on game day… it all played a part in leaving a lasting memory on us and ultimately deciding to relocate the team to Wenatchee when the opportunity presented itself,” said White. “Our family still had a desire to give back to the players and remain involved, which is why we wanted to continue to operate a team. This is an important time in these young men’s lives and seeing the lasting impact it has on them makes it all worth it when we are able to give back to them and also to the communities we are all involved in.”
White said that he hopes to have a head coach and hockey/business operations staff in place by next week.
“The opportunity to keep Wenatchee as a member of the NAHL and USA Hockey is an important part of our vision for the Western part of the United States,” said Mark Frankenfeld, Commissioner of the North American Hockey League. “Despite all the challenges that exist geographically we are excited that this challenge is being taken head-on in order to provide NAHL hockey to some of the most passionate fans in the NAHL and one of the best venues in the country. We wish David White and the Wenatchee Wild continued success both on and off the ice.”
The Town Toyota Center complex in Wenatchee, Washington, is a multi-purpose facility containing a 4,200 seat main arena and a second permanent ice rink. It is located in the heart of North Central Washington in Wenatchee, Washington, and hosts world-class entertainment and high-impact sporting events as well as being the home of the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild hockey team.
“The Town Toyota Center is ecstatic to continue to have an NAHL team in Wenatchee. We have an extremely passionate and educated fan base that has embraced the Wild and we are thrilled to bring them the same level of hockey that they have enjoyed and grown to love,” said Mark Miller, General Manager of the Town Toyota Center. “We are excited to maintain the same level of high-impact entertainment and quality of life that we have grown accustomed to the last five years. Our staff will strive to exceed all expectations as we launch into a new future.”
A presentation to and final approval by the USA Hockey junior council is expected in early June.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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