Sunday, August 8, 2010

Here Come the Road Warriors

The other day I talked about how Prospect Park is about people coming together and sharing information. On Saturday night, an example of that took place as it started with a simple message on Facebook.

Melissa Crowe Friddle posted a message for me on my facebook wall that she had heard a rumor:

" So the rumo® is that our new ECHL team in Greenville will be the Rangers ECHL affiliate. This makes me happy!"

Melissa should be happy as the Ranger's fan is going to get her wish and have a Ranger farm team for her to watch this season. But we know via some very reliable sources that this is no longer a rumor but is going to happen.

The Rangers will be adding the Greenville Road Warriors as their ECHL team with an announcement coming as soon as Monday and no later than the end of next week but for the Rangers it helps put their developmental program into place.The Rangers were without an ECHL team ever since the Charlotte Checkers decided to move up to the AHL and signed an agreement with the Carolina Hurricanes.

After a summer where the Ranger ECHL team was rumored all over the place from Florida to Trenton they are going to sign with the Greenville Road Warriors. Yet we can not help but get a chuckle when we see all the details about the Road Warriors.

Last season the Road Warriors were the Johnstown Chiefs (named of course after the Charlestown Chiefs from the classic movie "Slapshot") but moved out of Johnstown after consistently losing money as well as failing to find local ownership for the team.

Speaking of who owns the Road Warriors as former Rangers GM Neil Smith is one of the owners as well has being the team president and GM. In it's own way it is ironic that the Rangers selected the GRWs as once upon a time Glen Sather said about the Rangers under Smith "If I had the payroll the Rangers have I could win the Cup every year".

Even better is that the Rangers will be sharing the Road Warriors with the Philadelphia Flyers next season as both teams will supply players (we expect the Rangers will send 7 players and 1 goalie). The GRW will be coached by Dean Stork.

We already like Dean Stork since he played his college hockey at UMass/Amherst but for Stork the former ECHL player is moving from being an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Cyclones to his first job as a head coach as the RW's first coach.

For us we think this is an excellent place for the Rangers as Melissa is just one of many Ranger fans who live in the Carolina s and a chance to get good support. We also can not discount the advantage the RWs have with Neil Smith as their GM as players will listen to someone who is wearing a Stanley Cup ring.

Both sides are going to win with this arrangement as the Rangers have an experienced General Manager/Owner who is going to help teach the players how to win. For Smith and his relocated franchise he will be getting players from 2 of the better known teams in the NHL which could help him sell tickets.

So we will get a head start on welcoming the Road Warriors to the Ranger Universe but letting you know that here is their web address: and from there you can add the RWs facebook, twitter and youtube feeds.

Again a special thanks to Melissa Crowe Friddle for getting this tip to us.

(Greenville Logo courtesy of the Greenville Road Warriors)

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