Muskegon Lumberjacks get new owners, coach | News
MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The sale of the Muskegon Lumberjacks was approved at the United States Hockey League's Board of Governors meeting in Chicago on Monday.
The United States Hockey League franchise is now owned by brothers Chris and Peter Ferraro and John Vanbiesbrouck, who are all former NHL players.
A lot has happened with the U.S.H.L. team in the last two weeks; however Lumberjacks President Tim Taylor say the biggest change was in team ownership.
"Change can sometimes be good," says Taylor. "In this case, it is great."
The trio of owners will lead the team into its fourth season. The owners say they are excited to be part of the Muskegon community.
"Muskegon is a great town. It has a great history with hockey," Vanbiesbrouck says. "And all of those things culminate to want to be in a traditional hockey market."
Vanbiesbrouck says he appreciates and wants to build on what the Mervis family, the previous team owners, has done for the hockey community.
"We are well aware of the fan base and we are just excited to get here and get the process started," Peter says.
The Lumberjacks also have a new coach for the 2013-2014 season, Todd Krygier. Krygier played in more than 500 games during his NHL career.
Krygier says coaching the Lumberjacks was too good of an opportunity to pass up. The new head coach looks to do more than coach a winning team. He says that he will work to "develop young men both on and off the ice and help them achieve their goals of college hockey and the NHL."
There are 100 players from around the Midwest competing for a spot on the 2013-2014 Muskegon Lumberjacks. Roster cuts this week will reduce the competition to 23 players.
According to the Lumberjacks president, the team creates an annual economic impact of $12 million.
Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Bob Lukens says the season helps with winter tourism efforts. He especially likes that out-of-town teams that come to Muskegon to play the Lumberjacks often stay the night. Family members of players visit the town as well.
Lukens says five percent of the cost of a hotel room in Muskegon County goes toward attracting more visitors to town. Those dollars fund advertising and sales efforts by the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau.