Gregory moves up the ladder to Norfolk


By Tom Williams

The SteelHounds’ GM now joins the AHL franchise as an executive vice president.

YOUNGSTOWN — If the Youngstown SteelHounds return to the ice for a fourth season, the franchise will be supervised by a new general manager.

Monday, the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League announced the hiring of SteelHounds general manager Joe Gregory, 28, as an executive vice president.

The AHL is professional hockey’s equivalent of baseball’s Triple A leagues. The Lake Erie Monsters (Cleveland) and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Baby Penguins are among the AHL’s 29 teams.

The Admirals have been members of the AHL since 2000 and are the top minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I am very excited to be joining the Admirals,” Gregory said of the Virginia team. “I am familiar both with the area and with the impeccable reputation of the Admirals and [president] Ken Young.”

Gregory will oversee the day-to-day business operations of the Admirals and serve on the AHL Board of Governors.

“I look forward to carrying on the Admirals’ tradition of excellence that has been built over nearly 20 years and to becoming an active member of the Hampton Roads community,” he said.

Hockey runs in the family. Gregory’s brother, Marc, is vice president of marketing for the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

Gregory’s departure leaves the SteelHounds without a general manager as owner Herb Washington ponders whether the Chevrolet Centre’s main tenant will return to the ice.

It’s been an extremely tumultuous offseason for the 3-year-old franchise. Since the SteelHounds were ousted in the first round of the Central Hockey League playoffs in early April, the team:

•fired its media relations director (Tim Sampsell).

•lost its captain and most popular player (Chris Richards) to a league in England.

•was booted out of the CHL on June 2 because of an ongoing financial dispute.

•is being hounded by city leaders over its lease providing hockey exclusivity at the financially-challenged arena.

Gregory, the SteelHounds’ third general manager, was hired by Washington in March 2006 near the end of the team’s first season.

Washington’s first GM was Grant Buckborough, who came to the SteelHounds after serving as assistant GM for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.

After four months in Ohio, Buckborough returned to the Killer Bees in May 2005. He was replaced by George Manias, who left the team in March 2006.

“I would like to thank Herb Washington and my staff here in Youngstown,” Gregory said. “They are the people that helped me get to this point. I would also like to thank my family for their invaluable support. I could not have done this without them.”

Gregory is a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School and Youngstown State University with a B.S. in Marketing Management.

He spent three years as coordinator of sales and marketing and coordinator of tournament operations for the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.

In 2004, Gregory worked for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers as director of business development.

“We are delighted that Joe will be joining us in early July,” Young said. “Joe’s enthusiasm and background in the hockey business will be excellent for the Admirals as we look forward to the team’s 20th anniversary season.”

williams@vindy.com

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