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USHL awards team to Zoldan



Published: Tue, April 28, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.

photo

Bruce Zoldan

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The United States Hockey League announced on Monday that it has awarded an expansion membership to Youngstown businessman Bruce Zoldan for the 2009-10 season.

The new USHL team will play at the Chevrolet Centre as a member of the USHL’s Eastern Division.

Team USA, representing the National Training Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., will also join the USHL Eastern Division, giving the league 14 teams for next season.

Other teams in the East Division this season were Green Bay, Wis.; Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Des Moines, Iowa; Bensenville, Ill. (a suburb of Chicago) and Indianapolis, Ind.

Teams in the West Division represented cities in Lincoln, Kearney and Omaha, Neb.; Fargo and Sioux Falls, S.D., and Sioux City, Iowa.

The announcement had been expected for about two weeks, but was put off by the league and Zoldan because his current team, the Mahoning Valley Phantoms of the North American Hockey League, were competing in the league’s playoffs.

The Phantoms begin play in the NAHL’s Robertson Cup Championship today in Mason City, Iowa.

However, planning for the 2009-10 season forced the league to make the announcement now.

“The sole purpose of this announcement at this time is to confirm and put into place the procedures necessary for the USHL to conduct an expansion draft according to its rules and regulations,” said USHL commissioner Skip Prince in a statement released by the league.

“Out of respect for our partners in hockey at the North American Hockey League, and in order not to take away from attention to the Robertson Cup and Mr. Zoldan’s Mahoning Valley Phantoms, we will defer any further details about expansion until the completion of the Robertson Cup and the NAHL season.”


Comments

1valleyred(1097 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

As previously stated, this is not worth it. Fans want to see pro/semi-pro hockey at a 6000 seat arena, not junior level hockey.

I wish them luck, but my money will continue to go towards the YSU Athletic Programs.

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2AustintownPenguin(27 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I hope people give the team a chance before they put their 'two cents' in. We don't need to set them up for failure before they even have 1 player on the team.

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3paul21045(28 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

When did the city give Zoldan the go ahead for the Chevy Centre for next year? Missed that one. . .or did they jusst slide that by us? What is the status of the loge contracts?

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4puckbusiness(3 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Gotta love the near-instant response of the naysayers.

Heaven forbid someone try and bring in a main tenant at a city-owned venue to try and bring sports fans downtown when otherwise there would've been neither a tenant nor any fans.

I'm sure it's difficult to come to terms with the fact that you're not going to see every game open with a bogus fight and it's probably tough to deal with your loss of 20 potential drinking buddies but is it really necessary to just jump right in and say "This will never work! This sucks! I'm not gonna support it!"?

Is that defeatist attitude something our Valley really needs right now?

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5hockeyrocks(1 comment)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I live in one of the cities currently in the USHL (Lincoln, NE - although I'm a bigger fan of Des Moines having grown up there), and can tell you that from what I've gathered from several people in the both towns, not many are real happy that you're joining the league. What do you offer to the league except another 5,000 + seat arena that will be 20% full on a good night. From what I've read on some message boards that broke the news about this a few weeks ago, that seems to be the consesus of most in Youngstown. No one wants the USHL in town. Trust me, you're not wanted by other teams in the league either.

I feel bad for your players as well. They are going to travel more than any other team in the league, which means the 3-12 high school players that will be on their roster will miss a ton of school. I'm sure that will help get them into college.

The USHL currently is a quality league that's been around for 30 years, but it has a new commissioner that wants to take it in a new direction that obviously includes blind expansion into bad markets.

I hope Mr. Zoldan has deep pockets and needs a good tax write-off as this is guarenteed to fail.

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6mcupp77(1 comment)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

First off give it a chance. I think if you look you will find this is a great league. Hear is a list of Former or Current Penguins to play in the USHL Ryan Malone, Ty Coklin, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Mark Eaton. Yes this is not a semi pro league you will see more of these kids in the NHL then you will players in the CHL. This is true tier 1 hockey. The USHL had 26 NHL draft choices last year, including four first round selections into the NHL. Not to damn bad. Youngstown needs to get behind this team and quit b****ing. Mr. Zoldan thanks for the team I will see you at the games.

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7boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Hockeyrocks makes a valid point. With the nearest teams being Ann Arbor and Indianapolis, 30 games on the road are going to cost money and team stamina. While I want some type of hockey in the area, another temp team is not the solution. Jersey and merchandise sales are not going to fly because of the fear of paying 90 bucks to wear a team on my back that wont be around in a year or two isnt worth it.

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8jrolley325(800 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

ty conklin plays for detroit now, mcupp77.

not to mention other top 6 forwards/defensemen in the NHL now such as:

kyle okposo
tj oshie
paul stastny
blake wheeler
thomas vanek
matt carle
david backes
joe pavelski
keith ballard
matt greene
patrick sharp
andrew alberts

just to name a few

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9jrolley325(800 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

it really isn't a bad league.....but i guess people around here would rather support a bunch of no-talent hacks with no prayer of ever making the big show.

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10houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

From what I have read 47 former USHL players were on an NHL team at the start of the season. Most of them are young, which tells me the U.S. is starting to produce quality hockey players. I think we are at the beginning of seeing many more players come from the USHL.

I have read numerous boards and never heard a negative comment about Youngstown joining the USHL. If they are out there then those people do not understand that you have to expand to grow the sport in the U.S.

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11houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I do not believe that most in Youngstown do not want the USHL. The handful of people that have posted here have there own opinion. Those people want the thuggery type of hockey that comes with semi pro hockey. Many hockey people I have talked to believe the USHL is top notch hockey.
EITHER BE PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION

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12Bluejackets1(7 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

If the ECHL is thuggery hockey, then why did 72 players formly from the ECHL start the year on NHL rosters? As Hockeyrocks said the USHL in Youngstown is a bad idea for many reasons. I think this team will fail just like the Phantoms failed at the Chevy Centre.

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13houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

We never had ECHL hockey and never will.

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14houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

The actual play of the phantoms was every bit as good as the steelhounds. I was a steelhounds season ticket holder and went to 15 phantoms game this year. The only difference I could see was the steelhounds checks were harder and there was many more fights. The hockey play was equal.

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15smarterthanthat(10 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Houndsfan, I declare shenanigans. The Phantoms (as will be the case with the USHL team) are boys trying to play a man's game. The level of play is...not...close...to professional. Did you see the South Park episode where Detroit played Stan's mite hockey team? Steelhounds vs. Phantoms (and any Jr. team for that matter) would result similarly, with the men on the winning end, obviously.

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16houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Hockey play was equal. Experienced players are more physical and know how to coax another player into a penalty to give them an advantage. In three years of steelhounds hockey I only seen about 5 plays that I would say were great plays and the best one was done to us by the Rock Mt Rage.

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17houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

DeCaro was the only goalie I ever seen in the CHL that was even close to a professional.

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18Heather01(2 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Personal preference is really what matters as far as this topic goes. Everyone has their own opinion, but no matter what league it is, there is plenty of talent. The big difference is experience. Personally, I enjoyed watching the SteelHounds play, and prefer that level of hockey to the junior level. It was a good mixture of the more experienced and the newer players, and I think it fit better in the Chevy Centre than the junior level hockey. I think that the attendance at the games can support that. In my opinion, it's nice seeing guys on the ice who have a better idea of what to expect and can make the game move quicker while they are helping younger players learn more about the game. I'll give the new league a chance, but I would still rather have professional hockey at the rink. I miss having it there and I hope that it will eventually return.

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19jrolley325(800 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

pretty much nobody from the CHL ever went on to play in the NHL.

chris minard tears up the AHL and had a cup of coffee with the pens this year, but he got demoted after the moron decided to make a drop pass when he had a breakaway

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20jrolley325(800 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

bottom line is, bruce zoldan is a businessman and he has a far better chance of making money or at least breaking owning a team without having to pay the players.

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21jrolley325(800 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

breaking even*

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22houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Hockeyrocks,

Checked the travel. The new USHL team will travel about the same as they did in the NAHL. Other than USA those Michigan teams were way up north. Since USA moved to the USHL I understand even more why Zoldan wanted to also. They are only 3.5 hours away. The rest of the NAHL teams were 7.5 to 10 hours away. The USHL teams will be 6 to 10 hours away.

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23valleyred(1097 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Listen: I WANT HOCKEY.

I just do not want to see kids I went to high school with playing in a $40+ million arena downtown! I graduated with 4 or 5 Phantoms a year ago at a local high school, which I will not mention.

I am a huge supporter of the Chevy Centre and want to see it succeed, but let's get real here folks, this will not work. Simple economics states businesses should only stay open in the short run if their marginal costs are greater than the average variable costs. If the marginal costs does not become greater than the average total cost in a few months, then shut it down.

Midway through this endeavor, Zoldan got to think long and hard about having a junior-level team at the Chevy Centre.

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24houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

valleyred,

I am glad you are a huge supporter of the chevy centre. The way things are going the Thunder will be gone soon and if hockey doesn't get the support it will also fail. The centre can't survive on single acts, theres not enough good acts to go around. We have been lucky this past year, because part of the agreement with management was we would get top acts the first year, also the Pavlik fight was huge. These are things we may not get next year. Chances of pro hockey ever coming back is very slim. Pro teams now want a cut of the concession sales and the city is locked into a contract with Boston Culinary(for how long I do not know). I also believe the Monsters would have to fold in Cleveland(which could happen), because when they came back we lost 10 season ticket holders in my section alone. Who knows how many in the other 21 sections. To get ECHL, Wheeling would probably have to fold also(which also could happen). So ride out the storm and hope for all these other hockey teams to fail so you can call yourself a youngstown hockey fan.

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25RailRoaded(7 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I hope everthing goes well for Mr. Zoldan, but this naming rights has me confused tell me what covelli has done personally for youngstown, I think but nothing comes to mind. Mr. Zoldan gave us hockey he has a large company in the city, and was talking about leaving at one time. This would be a great opportunity to keep that promise, you should have been given the right's not Covelli, that is why youngstown has not idea of what they are doing.

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26ytownhockey(12 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

who did what for youngstown has nothing to do with it. it is a bidding process and covelli is willing to pay the most money. if bruce wanted the naming rights he could have out bid covelli, but obviously didnt think it was worth it. as far as ushl vs echl. hey whatever, as can be seen by most on this site half want echl and wont support ushl and the other half is the opposite. ridiculous but that is life in the YO. enjoy while it is there

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27ytownhockey(12 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

just to throw a little more gas on the fire, anyone notice that the pens name bylsma head coach of the pens? that same dan bylsma was formerly an echl player.

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28iwantprohockey(13 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

but wait...i thought that only USHL players make it into the NHL as players or coaches????

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29truehockeyfan(6 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

The quality of ECHL hockey is phenomenal, and no one could argue that. But that being said, there is NO way Y-town will ever get or be able to sustain a league of that quality. That being said, the speed and quality of hockey in the USHL is higher than any other league we could get in this area, and we will be seeing many more players who will soon be in the NHL than if we were watching the CHL. Be objective! If you truely know and enjoy hockey (not just fighting on skates!) you will agree.

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30ytownhockey(12 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

i agree, the ushl is great, but the people that know hockey are not the people you have to sell it to. the casual fan that has nothing to do on a friday night is what is going to make money and for good or bad the vast majority of those people conotate (hope that is spelled correctly) hockey with the fighting. zoldan already has my money i am easy i will go to any hockey we have because i love it. but until more people in this town realize what hockey is, junior level will be a tough sell. tier 1 or not

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31boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

this thread has become a joke, if you like it , go. if not, stay home. the numbers will show after the fact and then some of you will be right and some will be wrong. Personally, I'm going to wait and save to go see the pens in a BRAND NEW S.O.T.A. Facility. I would rather my money be wasted on a something packed with entertainment and skill than on some local businessman's team that he will with no doubt move if sucessful, and fold if not. Either way, I win.

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32Sieveman(1 comment)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Hockeyrocks, not sure who you have talked to in Des Moines? But I have not seen/heard anything of the sort.

Expansion of any League is almost always going to drive up travel expenses, if that was the case, there would be no Green Bay, Chicago, Indiana, Tri-City, Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Omaha, etc... in the USHL Each team added increases the footprint and increases travel expenses.

jrolley, mrcup77 stated current & **former** Penguin players from the USHL. Pittsburgh native Ryan Malone is now on Tampa Bay's roster.

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33shadowman(67 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

And the Phantoms are no longer a team?

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34gmann415(268 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

wouldnt a basketball team or areana football team be better. i,d think that would draw in much more money than hockey. but if hockey is it then i hope it does well.

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35houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

gmann,

We have arena 2 team already, arena 1 stopped operations. No it's not better because it's only 8 home games and is not supported that well. I was told there has been many basketball teams that have failed in the area.

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36AustintownPenguin(27 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

There is supposed to be a basektball team going into the arena, the Youngstown Swish. We will see how they do. I am not too sure what league they are in, but their first season is supposed to start this fall coinciding with the USHL hockey season.

We also have an AF2 team as well, the AFL ceased operations for this year, but major markets like Columbus and Cleveland have teams. Cleveland got their team from Vegas, because the team was going to fold up.

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37houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I was told the swish was playing somewhere else not the youngstown centre

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38shadowman(67 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Please don't tell me that the Swish will be playing at the South High Fieldhouse. We had another team a few years back that played there. I forget their name, but I seem to remember that Ted Stepian had something to do with it or another team in the league. They didn't draw anything and folded quickly. No one would go there. If team will not play at the Chevy Center, then play at YSU.

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39shadowman(67 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Somebody tell me what is going to happen to the Phantoms next year. Disbanded? Back to the Ice Zone?

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40houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

The Mahoning Valley Phantoms will no longer be playing in the NAHL. With the USA team moving to the USHL the travel would have increased a lot. As far as the Swish the last article I could find does say they were talking with the Chevy Centre about playing some or all of its games there.

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41houndsfan(68 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Just read in another paper that the Bossier Mudbugs of the CHL may shut down if another owner can't be found. Current owner losing to much money on attendance of 3911. Probably be seeing more of this in the near future.

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42GoalJudge(1 comment)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

The Phantoms will be part of the USHL Entry Draft on 05/13/2009. They are picking fifth. The teams with the four worst records from the 2008/2009 season pick ahead of them. See www.ushl.com for more details

On www.mvpphantoms.com, the Phantoms will have Goaltender Camp on June 8 and 9; Player Selection Camp on June 10 and 11; Final Player Selection Camp on June 12 to 14. I would assume these try-outs are going to be for the USHL team this fall.

According to the news release on the USHL web site, I think the league is expecting the team to play it's games at the Covelli Centre.

It looks like business is moving forward for the Phantoms!

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43GSC(3 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

As a Youngstown native and a diehard hockey fan, I'm ecstatic over the news of the top tier junior league in the States coming to town. I can understand the apprehension on the part of USHL fans in more-established areas to the expansion of the league into a fledging market (I'm an Edmonton Oiler fan, so I'm all about keeping the game where it belongs). I have seen the game grow somewhat in Northeast Ohio, and there might be potential for continued growth in fan interest in the future.

Unfortunately, I'm a realist. Youngstown is a depressed, beyond the point of no return city. It has been for years now, and while that sentiment sounds defeatist and might be upsetting to hear for Mahoning Valley residents, it's the truth. Personally, I do love the fact that legitimate hockey is coming back into town (that includes the Steelhounds of the CHL, which wasn't the greatest hockey but wasn't a total gongshow, either). My heart tells me that maybe this time it will stick and the proud people of the area will finally embrace the game. My head, however, tells me the exact opposite.

While I truly want to believe that the game (especially at the level of Tier 1 Junior hockey) will find a niche in the Valley, I just can't see it happening. Here's to hoping I'm wrong...

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44GSC(3 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

ytownhockey hits the nail on the head with their comment regarding attracting the casual fan to the Chevy/Covelli Centre. The diehard fans will come out and support the club, especially given the fact that the hockey to be watched is high calibre. I also have to agree with the assertions that many of the casual fans won't come out of the woodwork to watch a junior team rather than a professional one. Again, I hope I'm wrong.

And to anyone who suggests that the ECHL is somehow a worthless league, it's simply wrong. There are NHL prospects practically on every team (obviously due to affiliation agreements). It's better than the CHL, no two ways about it.

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