Potential NAHL Owners Experience In New Mexico

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Potential NAHL Owners Experience in New Mexico

Springfield vs. Albuquerque. Tier III or Tier II. Both cities have junior hockey, Albuquerque, in fact, has two. Springfield still has one,and its a very good one, loaded with talent.

Revolution Sports Management just finished its first season as owner of the New Mexico Renegades of the Western States Hockey League. The same group has applied to the NAHL for ownership of the Junior Blues.

The Junior Blues, in existence since 1993 and operated as a not-for-profit organization the last five, will finish their regular season this weekend before starting the playoffs April 6-7. They hope that the NAHL will give an approval on the application for ownership within the next week.

That wasn’t the time frame when Revolution — consisting of businessmen Joe MacConnell, Ken Tomaro and Ken Orlando — became owner of the WSHL’s New Mexico Renegades. Based in the Albuquerque suburb of Rio Rancho, the Renegades still had a "for sale" sign last summer before Revolution bought the New Mexico team from the Ambroziak family. The franchise had been in New Mexico only since 2009 after playing in Dallas for a year and in Louisiana for two years before that.

The fact that the group was able to save the Renegades is great and should be recognized. A financial rescue in a pay to play Tier III hockey league is however very different than a rescue of a non pay to play team at a higher level. Having players pay the bills makes life a lot easier, without that income, and far higher expenses, how will this group perform?

The Revolution group will have some advantages in Springfield. A very good team that wins always helps, a solid fan base, and an active hockey community. Having those positives one can see why they would want to purchase the Blues. But the current owners have the same advantages and they are the ones selling. Why?

Any time a business is bought or sold, someone feels they can operate the business better by purchasing and someone wants out. Usually, when people purchase a business, the first measure to increase profit margin is to reduce costs. In junior hockey the only ways to do that are to reduce staff, reduce services and amenities provided to players, reduce costs, and most likely renegotiate the lease. The same would be done in nearly every other type of business sold.

Getting Springfield on solid ground is great for the NAHL and for the players. Again, the league is coming through for its member teams. Fans and supporters must be patient. Springfield is not Albuquerque, Tier II is not Tier III, each market and each business model is unique. What works in one area, for one team, or for one model, may not always work for another.

If the sale is approved, everyone needs to keep expectations low and give the team time to stabilize. Enjoy the playoff run, and be glad the NAHL wants to remain in Springfield, they are clearly committed to the city.

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