Loretto Sports Ventures Purchases NAHL's Topeka RoadRunners
April 18, 2018 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) News Release
(Kansas City) - Lamar Hunt, Jr. announced today that his company, Loretto Sports Ventures, has purchased the Topeka RoadRunners hockey team from Don Stone. Stone has owned the team since 2009. Hunt's Loretto Sports Ventures also owns the Kansas City Mavericks, a professional team who plays in the ECHL.
The Topeka RoadRunners are a Tier II Junior Hockey team that plays in the North American Hockey League. The Roadrunners have placed more than 200 players in NCAA Division 1 hockey programs since their inception in 2007. The RoadRunners have won three division titles in their 11 years on the ice in Topeka.
"We are thrilled to see hockey continue in Topeka. Lamar Hunt, Jr. and Loretto Sports Ventures are one of the biggest and well-established names in the sports industry and bring a wealth of experience to the NAHL. It's always a big win for everyone involved, but especially the players that are entrusted to us to have such an experienced operator join the NAHL. I want to thank Don Stone for his countless contributions both on and off the ice over the past 11 years. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership between Loretto Sports Ventures and the NAHL," said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.
In the past five years, 1,300 NAHL players have made NCAA commitments and 17 more have been drafted directly out of the league into the National Hockey League. So far during the 2017-18 season, 219 players have made NCAA commitments, almost 90% of which are NCAA Division I commitments. The RoadRunners have won three division titles in their 11 years on the ice in Topeka.
"We are excited to complete the purchase of the Topeka RoadRunners," Hunt said. "This is much more than just our company buying a hockey team. This is an important step in our ongoing mission to promote and grow the sport of hockey in our region. The model we are building in Kansas City to expand hockey at all levels is what we want to do with the RoadRunners franchise in Topeka," said Hunt.
"I want to personally thank Don Stone for all the work he and his family have done to establish the Topeka RoadRunners as a great franchise in the NAHL. Don and I both share a passion for hockey and a passion for seeing our region become a hotbed for the sport. All of us at Loretto Sports are ready to promote the RoadRunner brand and expand on what Don Stone has built in Topeka," said Hunt.
"I am pleased to announce that our General Manager/Head Coach for the RoadRunners will be Simon Watson," said Hunt. "Simon played Division I Hockey for St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY and played professionally in the Central Hockey League (CHL) for 5 seasons. He retired from the Missouri Mavericks in 2011 after being named CHL Man of the year. Simon has continued to be closely involved in youth hockey throughout the greater Kansas City area and it is my conviction that he has the background as a coach and player to lead the Topeka RoadRunners to great success. He has pursued and lived the dream that the players in the NAHL hope to achieve by having both a successful college and professional hockey career. He is a great fit for this team and for the NAHL," Hunt said.
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