The Adirondack Civic Center Coalition Inc. will purchase the ECHL Adirondack Thunder from the Calgary Flames in a deal that ensures continued operation of professional hockey in Glens Falls.
The ECHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale in February, providing coalition representatives with a seat on the ECHL board.
The purchase price was not disclosed, but the coalition is launching a “Keep Hockey Here” fundraising campaign to solicit the additional funds necessary for a successful team ownership. It has already raised $200,000 of the $1 million campaign goal, including contributions from coalition members.
The coalition said any profits generated by the team will be used in support of the team and the Civic Center. None of the Coalition members or hockey board of managers will receive any profits.
“Owning the Adirondack Thunder allows us to control our own destiny and focus on the long-term success of hockey and the Civic Center,” Daniel J. Burke, president of the coalition, said on Feb. 28. “Since the Adirondack Red Wings left in 1999, the community has not had a long-term commitment from a professional hockey organization. That changes today.”
The purchase of the team was approved by the ECHL board of governors in February and the coalition has established a hockey board of managers with area hockey experts to ensure its success, the group said.
The volunteer management team is comprised of Glenn Merkosky and Greg Joly, two former professional hockey players; Kevin Mahoney, retired State Supreme Court Justice David Krogmann and coalition members Ed Moore, Claude Loiselle, Elisabeth Mahoney and George Ferone.
Brian Petrovek, who served as Adirondack Thunder president for the last two seasons, said the team “is grateful for the support we have received from the community over the past three seasons and we wish the coalition all the best as they become new members of the ECHL. What a wonderful way to celebrate the 35th anniversary of professional hockey in the region. Glens Falls is a great hockey town.”
However, Petrovek will not remain with the team. He has been named by the Calgary Flames as CEO of its AHL Stockton Heat hockey club. He will also serve as an alternate governor for the team.
ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna said the league has been impressed with “the passion and commitment by the new ownership group. They are doing this for all of the right reasons. Having a professional team and vibrant arena will enhance entertainment options and add to the quality of life in the entire region.”
“We’re ready to work with the community to make this team a long-term success in Glens Falls and to keep hockey here,” Burke said. “Our members have stepped up and we know our neighbors will be right behind us in supporting this effort. Together, we will ensure vibrant winter nights in downtown Glens Falls and a successful Civic Center for decades to come.”
The Adirondack Civic Center Coalition is a nonprofit group of local business and community volunteer leaders who manage the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“Keeping the Adirondack Thunder in the Glens Falls community is great news for the region,” said state Sen. Betty Little. “Hockey and the Civic Center are critical pieces in the continued growth of economic development and tourism.”
State Assemblyman Dan Stec said, “I’m absolutely thrilled about this news. The coalition has done extraordinary work already, and their commitment to the community and the success of this regional gem continues to shine through.”
“We were excited when the coalition stepped up to lease the Civic Center two years ago because we knew this local group would be a responsible steward of this important Glens Falls asset,” said Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond.
Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ronald Conover said the success of the Civic Center and the presence of professional hockey in the region “is an important economic and cultural boost for the entire region, and we welcome this news.”
For more information, or to donate to Keep Hockey Here campaign, please visit www.glensfallscc.com.