Last season, the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) took the bold initiative of expanding its footprint to include the Southern United States with the addition of two teams in Texas and another in Kansas. Today, the NA3HL has taken the next step in the process and announced the three additional teams that will complete the six-team South Division for the 2014-15 season.
The South Division, which featured the Dallas Jr. Stars, Sugar Land Imperials and Topeka Capitals in the 2013-14 season, will see the addition of three new teams in 2014-15: the Nashville NA3HL Hockey Club (A-Game SportsPlex, Franklin, Tennessee), the Point Mallard Ducks (Point Mallard Ice Complex, Decatur, Alabama) and the Texas Brahmas (NYTEX Sports Centre, North Richland Hills, Texas).
“We are excited to complete the six team division with such great markets and ownership groups,” said NAHL Commissioner and NA3HL President Mark Frankenfeld. “With the success the NAHL and now NA3HL has had in the Southern footprint, we felt the time was right to look at strengthening the South Division to six clubs to provide more opportunity for players as we continue our mission in creating the best and most diverse Tier III Junior property in the country.”
The now 31-team NA3HL will be divided into five divisions (Central, East, Frontier, South and West) for the 2014-15 season. The South Division teams will compete in a 48-game regular season schedule and will take part in the NA3HL Showcase, the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament and the NA3HL Silver Cup Championship Tournament with the other four divisions. Just over a month ago, the NA3HL added seven teams from the AWHL to make up its new Frontier Division for the 2014-15 season.
The yet-to-be-named Nashville team will play their home games out of the A-Game SportsPlex in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. The team is owned and operated by MDG Management, LLC of Franklin, Tennessee. Owners of MDG Management, LLC are Tim McAllister, J P Dumont and Brad Guzda. Dumont is a retired NHL player with over 800 career NHL games to his credit with the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators. Dumont left the Predators franchise in 2011 5th in all-time scoring with 267 points in 388 games. Located 15 miles South of Nashville, the A-Game SportsPlex is a privately owned 750 seat multi-sport facility. It features two NHL size ice skating rinks, 12 volleyball courts, 6 basketball courts, 5 acres of outdoor fields and a complete fitness center.
The Point Mallard Ducks will play their home games out of the Point Mallard Ice Complex in Decatur, Alabama, which is located 20 miles to the west of Huntsville. The team is owned and operated by Total Package Hockey (TPH). Led by President and Founder Nathan Bowen, TPH is one of the largest hockey service providers in the country and develops student/athletes in the game of hockey by providing them with innovative training, access to a professional and dedicated staff, while educating them on and providing them with opportunities to realize their full potential. Point Mallard Ice Complex is a key component of the Point Mallard Park owned and operated by the City of Decatur, Department of Parks and Recreation. It was completed in 2001 and includes a single 200 x 85 sheet of ice. There are four locker rooms currently available and a new locker room for the Point Mallard Ducks will be built in the spring of 2014. There is bleacher seating for 350 and seating/standing room on the glass for an additional 200.
The Texas Brahmas will play their home games out of the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas, which is located in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. The team is owned and operated by brothers Frank and Salvatore Trazzera, who also own and operate the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas. The NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills seats 2,400 spectators for hockey games. The multi-purpose facility has a restaurant, sports shop, concession stands, private locker rooms, training rooms and team offices on site. It also hosts other sporting events like indoor soccer, lacrosse, roller derby, concerts and is the home of USA Volleyball Club, Tejas Volleyball. It is owned by NYTEX Sports, LLC, a sports management firm based in New York and Texas. NYTEX was the previous home to the NAHL’s Texas Tornado from 1999-03 and the NAHL’s Lone Star Cavalry from 2003-04.
The NA3HL is just completing its fourth season and serves as one of the top training grounds in the country by providing the best coaching, exposure and developmental vehicles available for student-athletes in its classification. The NA3HL’s North Iowa Bulls solidified this by winning the USA Hockey Tier III Junior National Championship in 2013, and finished as National Runner-Up in 2014. Over three dozen alumni of the NA3HL played in the NAHL during the current 2013-14 season.