NAHL approves Ice Zone for league event
The Robertson Cup tournament will begin play on May 10.
FRISCO, Texas -- The North American Hockey League's Robertson Cup national championship tournament will be played at The Ice Zone in Boardman.
The league's four division winners and the Phantoms will play for the Robertson Cup to begin play May 10.
Leading up to the Robertson Cup will be the playoffs, which begin with a best-of-five first round and then a best-of-seven second round.
"We are very excited to bring this premier event to the Mahoning Valley," said Michael Santos, commissioner and president of the North American Hockey League. "We look forward to a very competitive tournament."
The announcement concludes a long controversy in which the NAHL hoped to play the tournament at the Chevrolet Centre downtown.
SteelHounds say no
However, the owner of the Youngstown SteelHounds, Herb Washington, exercised a clause in his lease with Global Entertainment that allowed him to deny use of the facility to other hockey organizations. Global Entertainment operates the Chevrolet Centre for the city of Youngstown.
"We are happy that the end result will now bring a championship tournament to an area community, said Bruce Zoldan, owner of the Mahoning Valley Phantoms. "We intend to direct all of our efforts toward promoting the greatest four days of hockey the Valley has ever seen.
"I am personally committed to combining the strong resources of the Phantoms, the Ice Zone, and the B.J. Alan Company with the excellent array of hotels, restaurants and retail shopping available in Boardman, to provide a sure-fire formula for an outstanding hockey tournament and an exceptional experience for all of the visitors to the Mahoning Valley who will be here for the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament," Zoldan added.
Eleven teams have clinched playoff berths, which will be played to determine the teams in the Robertson Cup.
The Phantoms, Cleveland Barons and U.S. National Team have clinched berths in the North Division, and the NAHL's two-time defending champion Texas Tornado and Texarkana Bandits have clinched in the South Division.
In the Central Division, all four teams have been determined -- Fargo-Moorhead, which lost in the Robertson Cup finals to Texas last year; Southern Minnesota; Bismarck (S.D.), and Alexandria (Minn.).