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NAHL Expansion To Rio And Laredo

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NAHL Expansion to Rio and Laredo July 2, 2012 7:07 AM

Sources within the NAHL confirmed to TJHN on Friday that no formal applications have been submitted for membership from Rio Grande Valley or Laredo Texas.

Wishing to remain anonymous, this source said that informal talks have taken place, but that nothing has been done officially. With the release of the NAHL schedule on Friday, the odds on these two cities having hockey this season have been reduced. Adding games and completely revamping nearly 1000 NAHL games would not make a lot of sense at this point.

Another NAHL source indicated that formal applications were expected shortly. That same source indicated that it was likely they would be approved as expansion teams for the 2013-2014 season.

There is an outside chance that if official applications are made this week that the teams could be approved to play this season. It is believed that this would be the last possible week for approval.

When speaking to other NAHL organizations relating to concerns expressed about a limited player pool, those persons were not concerned. Relating to the experience of Port Huron a few years ago, a team coming into the league late in the summer had a hard time recruiting and competing. Such would not be the case this season.

With the loss of 4 NAHL teams, 3 OJHL teams and no expansion of Tier II or the USHL, the player pool is very deep this off season. Adding two teams now would not be the struggle it may have been two years ago. Nearly 200 Tier II veteran players are available to build around.

With the NAHL experiencing several changes over the last seven months, leadership has once again been strong. Panic has not set in, and calm has guided the ship, we expect this trend to continue as the league builds for the future.

Joseph Kolodziej

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