By BRANDON WOOD firstname.lastname@example.org | 0 comments
There is a Stampede heading for Oswego.
The Syracuse Stampede, a hockey team in the North America Tier III Hockey League (NA3HL), announced Wednesday they would relocate to the Port City for the 2017-18 season.
The team will be called the Oswego Stampede and play their home games at Crisafulli Rink.
The Stampede come to Oswego from Morrisville, where the team played since April 2015. The Stampede have also been based in Cicero and Baldwinsville.
Mexico’s Mike Beavis has been the team’s owner and head coach since the team formed in 2010. In a press release, Beavis credited the city of Oswego and Mayor Billy Barlow for making the location change possible.
“I give a ton of credit to the city of Oswego with the relocation of the Stampede,” Beavis said in the release. “Oswego mayor Billy Barlow was very receptive in bringing junior hockey back to Oswego and worked very hard to make it happen.”
With Oswego having such a large hockey community, Barlow said it made sense to bring a major team like the Stampede into the area to promote tourism.
“I think it’s definitely beneficial,” Barlow said. “We are a hockey community and we are a community where tourism is concerned that needs to capitalize on our assets. Bringing in the Stampede will be good for the community between players, fans, and other teams that come in.”
The Stampede will pay the city for use of ice time at the rink. Barlow said that he and Beavis met a couple of times to discuss bringing the Stampede into the city.
“Obviously I wanted to do whatever it took to bring the team here,” Barlow said. “We had to dig in and make some arrangements and accommodations.”
Those accommodations include an earlier opening for Crisafulli Rink, which will now open in late August to accommodate the start of the NA3HL regular season, which runs from September to March.
“The rink will need to be opened earlier, which quite frankly I think is better because we need to use the buildings and facilities we have more,” Barlow said. “It’s more valuable for the city to have these facilities being used. I didn’t look at that as a burden, but an advantage.”
The rink is currently being studied by Syracuse-based QPK Design to assess the facility’s range of possibilities, including multiple ice rinks, space for lacrosse and other sports, and civil space for musical or theatre events.
City officials in March said they hoped such a facility could draw tourists and visitors year-round while creating opportunities for increased hockey, lacrosse, and soccer tournaments.
Another piece of the puzzle is managing ice time among the Stampede, the Oswego Minor Hockey Association, and the Oswego varsity boys and girls teams that also play at the rink.
Barlow said the schedules of other teams at the rink “would be affected very minimally, if at all.”
Beavis said in the release that he was looking forward to sharing the ice with area teams, and hoped to form a strong relationship with them.
“We are looking forward to working with the youth and high school groups and forming a relationship with them that could potentially lead to promoting their players onto higher levels in the future,” Beavis said.
The team name changing from Syracuse to Oswego and a color change helped show the team’s dedication to its new home, Beavis said.
“After meeting with the mayor, we were given the impression that he would like us to take on the Oswego name when we completed the deal to move to our new venue,” Beavis said in the release. “It didn’t take long for us to decide on a complete change to let our new neighbors know that we were committed to Oswego long-term and then we opted to replace the Syracuse Stampede with the Oswego Stampede and adjust our colors to support the existing Oswego groups.”
The Stampede’s colors will be blue, white, and navy.
The last junior team to play out of Oswego was the Admirals in the OPJHL from 2005-07. Beavis was on the Admirals’ staff, and had fond memories of games at Fort Ontario’s Crisafulli Rink.
“The fort was an exciting place to play and we had several guys that were on that team that went on to play in the NCAA and a few had some minor pro careers as well,” Beavis said.
The Stampede have competed in several different leagues since debuting, and were winners of the Northern States Hockey League in the 2012-13 season. After going 35-4-3 in the regular season, they won three playoff games to take the league title.
After two seasons in the NSHL, the Stampede joined the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League for two years. Before the 2016-17 season, the NA3EHL was absorbed by the NA3HL.
In their first season in the NA3HL, the Stampede went 21-21-4 in the Northeast Division of the 48-team league. They made the playoffs but lost in the opening round. Other teams in the division this season included the Jersey Shore Wildcats, Niagara Falls PowerHawks, Roc City Royals, Skylands Kings, and Binghamton Jr. Senators.
The NA3HL Entry Draft is upcoming June 13 for players less than 21 years old on Dec. 31, 2016. Each eligible NA3HL club is entitled to one selection per round unless they have traded the pick, and there are eight rounds in the draft.
The Stampede will hold a press conference in the near future pertaining to the program and the working relationship with Oswego. The team will open training camp on Sept. 5 for the 2017-18 season.
For more details on the Stampede, visit www.oswegostampede.com.