The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


May 10, 2014

NAHL coming to Connellsville

JOHNSTOWN — The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the Port Huron Fighting Falcons are reactivating and relocating their membership to Connellsville.

The team will be renamed the Keystone Ice Miners and will start play next season.

“In just a few short years, the Fighting Falcons organization has experienced tremendous success on the ice, so we are excited that the Laurel Highlands and Connellsville community will be inheriting a very competitive and successful team,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “With the on- and off-ice success of the Johnstown Tomahawks, the addition of a second NAHL team in Pennsylvania is further proof that the state has a passionate and dedicated fan base for hockey and should enjoy the rivalry that will be enhanced by this relocation.”

The team will play out of the Ice Mine, a 4,000-seat, multi-purpose arena 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh. In addition to the NAHL team, the Ice Mine is home to the Ice Miners youth hockey organization, the Connellsville High School hockey program and the Washington & Jefferson College team.

“This is one of the fastest growing youth hockey markets in the country, and this team will be a great fit for our community and our hockey families,” said Tom Kinsey of Scottdale Bank & Trust, which owns the Ice Mine.

“For youth hockey and the community, this is an unbelievable day,” he said. “The NAHL is one of the top leagues in USA Hockey and the players have a lot of ability and skill. It will be a very entertaining product for the community to support.”

The Fighting Falcons are coming off a very successful season. The club went 35-15-10 and won the North Division regular season before falling out of the playoffs at the hands of the Michigan Warriors in the division finals.

In four seasons, the Falcons sent more than 20 players to NCAA Division I programs.

“I and the team are very excited about the move to Connellsville,” said Michael Gershon, who will remain the Falcons’ head coach. “I already see how passionate the people in the area are about hockey, and I look forward to them bringing that same passion to the Ice Mine next year. It is an untapped market. We hope to get a good crowd, and I think it will be an exciting time, not only for Connellsville, but the entire Laurel Highlands. We want to create an atmosphere that is loud and gets people excited.”

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