NAHL Jr Blues New Owners And A Three Year Stipulation

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NAHL Jr. Blues new owners and a Three-year stipulation

Sources within the Springfield Junior Blues, said Thursday the North American Hockey League has approved the purchase of the franchise by a California ownership group that would keep the team in Springfield for at least the next three years.

The closing of the sale, which actually would take place between the league and the California group, is expected as early as next week.

The ownership change is also expected to bring a coaching change. That means Springfield coach Joe Dibble is dealing with lame-duck status while he’s guiding the team in the playoffs. The Junior Blues host the Janesville Jets in Game 3 of their best-of-five series at 7 tonight at Nelson Center.

The new Ownership group from California is called FERZOW and headed by Dan Ferguson. A resident of the San Jose, Calif., area, Ferguson is the son of Earl Ferguson, who was a highly successful Silicon Valley businessman before his death in 2003. Dan Ferguson also is involved with the San Jose Junior Sharks youth hockey program, which sponsors various age-group teams for boys and girls.

Three-year stipulation

Maiocco said the deal requires the Junior Blues to stay in Springfield for three years. That also would be the duration of a new lease agreement with the Springfield Park District, which owns Nelson Center.

Ferguson’s group was one of at least three being considered to purchase the Junior Blues, who have been operated as a not-for-profit organization the past five years. Maiocco believes the NAHL was impressed by Ferguson’s ability to give the team a financial boost.

Zasowski next coach?

Speculation in many hockey circles is that Ferguson would name Tony Zasowski as head coach.

Zasowki, 33, is a Chicago-area native who was a goalie at the University of Notre Dame from 2000-03. He has coached in the United States Hockey League, the East Coast Hockey League and the NAHL. He has served as a coach with the San Jose Junior Sharks program the past five years.

Unfortunately all of these issues are coming at a time when the Blues are in the midst of the playoffs. One can only hope that these issues do not become a distraction that would derail their success.

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