On this sunny December afternoon, in the holiday season, it seemed appropriate that the Springfield Falcons were able to finally give their fans the Christmas gift they have been longing for: business stability. Falcons President and General Manger, Bruce Landon opened this afternoon's press conference at the MassMutual Center by thanking the group of local investors who stepped forward in 2002, offering their fiscal resources to keep the Falcons in Springfield.
Since 2002, the Falcons have not only faced an economic downturn in western Massachusetts, but have struggled mightily through two NHL affiliations (Tampa Bay and Edmonton) that, put kindly, "didn't work out". Approximately one year ago, Landon had gone public with his desire for new local investment in the Falcons, with the hope of keeping the team in Springfield.
AHL President, Dave Andrews was on hand and made mention that his office overlooks the MassMutual Center (the AHL office is diagonally across the street) and for the number of games he's been able to take in over the course of the past couple of seasons in particular, it's been difficult to see what Bruce Landon has had to go through.
The first order of business was Landon's announcement that new local ownership has finally been found. A local investor named Charlie Pompea was put in touch with Landon over a year ago, when Bruce first sought new blood to keep the Falcons solvent and more importantly, in Springfield. Although the two had not spoken for some time, as fate would have it, they played in a charity golf tournament this past October. After dinner, Pompea asked Landon if he had some time to talk. And talk they did!
President Andrews, offering comments on the ownership transaction mentioned that Mr. Pompea was unanimously approved by the 29 other clubs at an AHL meeting last Thursday.
The next order of business dealt with the Falcons' lease of the MassMutual Center. Prior to the start of this season, that was yet another cloud hanging over the collective head of the Falcons organization. With new ownership and perhaps renewed optimism, the Massachusetts Convention Authority has extended the lease of the Falcons at the MassMutual Center.
Completing today's trifecta, it was announced by Landon that Scott Howson and Chris MacFarland have been very enthusiastic about the way the Jackets' players have been treated here in Springfield. And so with that, the partnership between the Falcons and Jackets has also been extended. At this moment, I don't have specifics regarding length of the extension, but I will post that when I get confirmation.
The history of pro hockey in Springfield dates back to 1926. Today is truly an exciting day as the next chapter in Springfield hockey begins!
The press conference is available for viewing on the Falcons' website.