The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the Port Huron Fighting Falcons are reactivating and relocating their membership to Connellsville, Pennsylvania and will be renamed and play as the Keystone Ice Miners beginning in the 2014-15 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, which is a 4,000-seat, multi-purpose arena located 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to the NAHL team, the Ice Mine is home to the Ice Miners youth hockey organization as well as the Connellsville High School hockey program and the Washington & Jefferson College hockey 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. For youth hockey and the community, this is an unbelievable day,” said Tom Kinsey on Wednesday. Kinsey represents Scottdale Bank & Trust, which owns the Ice Mine. “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 team that will be relocating to Connellsville is coming off a very successful season in which the club won the NAHL’s North Division during the regular season with a 35-15-10 record. The team’s season came to an end in the North Division Finals in a loss to the Michigan Warriors. In just four seasons in the NAHL, the organization has moved over 20 players onto the NCAA Division I level.
“I and the team are very excited about the move to Connellsville,” said Michael Gershon, who will remain the head coach for the club. “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.”