In October, Port Huron will welcome it’s newest professional hockey team to the area.
In the course of the next six month there are many details left to be discussed, including new team name, colors and most importantly the management.
But with an owner (Barry Soskin) with experience, it appears the latest effort is off to a good start. In the wake of the big news, I had a chance to talk to local hockey historian, 1380 AM host and Sports Director Dennis Stuckey.
Below is a transcript of our conversation:
• Hayes: What was your initial reaction to the news that hockey was returning to Port Huron?
• Stuckey: “As a hockey ran, my initial reaction is excitement to have a team. Let’s face it. I did miss having a hockey game to go to. I didn’t miss the bus trips. But I did miss it. As a realist that has been in this almost 20 years at minor league and junior levels, I remain a skeptic. This is the 6th press conference I’ve been to. The press conference stays the same but the names change. I hope that this one works out. This is the first team to boldly come in and commit to a five year deal. Hopefully it’s an encouraging sign.”
•Hayes: What’s are the main differences between the NAHL and this league
Stuckey: “The NAHL was amateur players. They were kids from 17-to-20-years-old. They are trying to get into college and junior hockey. This is the next level above the NAHL. These guys are pros. This is the lowest level of pro hockey. They have already played college and junior hockey. This is a few steps ahead of what we had with the Falcons. Is it as good as the Icehawks or Bordercats? We will have to see. But these are more experienced players. I think it will surprise some people and no one will be disappointed.”
•Hayes: What is the key in making this work?
•Stuckey: “The key is letting people know you are out there. When the Bordercats came in they were tireless in the community. That got people into the building and the biggest complaint since then is a lot of people weren’t aware there was a team or didn’t know much about the team. There wasn’t anything they could identify with community wise. But that’s the million dollar question. What will make it work? I wish I had the answer because we probably wouldn’t have gone through six teams.
•Hayes: How can this organization restore trust after past mishaps with other ownership groups?
•Stuckey: “It’s a two sided street. Part of it is the people of our community have to realize this isn’t the last guy, the guy before or the guy before that. It’s a new guy, start with a fresh slate. You can’t make this guy suffer for what people in the past have done. On (the ownership side) you make a promise, you have to keep it and you really have to pay your bills.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.