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NAHL Board of Governors approves transfer of Blizzard ownership

July 27, 2005 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - Alexandria Blizzard News Release

Frisco, Texas - The North American Hockey League Board of Governors has approved the transfer of ownership of the Minnesota Blizzard Junior A hockey team, ending several months of speculation on the future of the club based in Alexandria, Minnesota.

The approval came in a conference call and was unanimous.

Three local business owners, Chris Canavati, Mitri Canavati and Joani Nielson have purchased the team from Steven Nestor, who had owned the team since its inception in 2003-04.

"The Blizzard hockey team is great for the community, the players and the fans and we felt it was important to keep the team here" said Chris Canavati. "This will be an opportunity for Alexandria and the surrounding communities to see some great hockey and allow players to pursue their dreams."

"We would like to thank Chris, Mitri and Joani for stepping forward and making a commitment to the NAHL," said NAHL commissioner Michael Santos. "Our league has been growing and growing stronger in this current period and one of our greatest areas of strength is in Minnesota. We are pleased the NAHL will remain a strong presence in the central part of the state with this new ownership group."

Blizzard made the NAHL playoffs last season in only its second year of operation. In addition to making a significant commitment to the on-ice product by hiring Brad Willner, who's coaching background includes nine years in the NCAA Division I ranks, as the Blizzard's new coach and general manager, the new ownership also has pledged to will give back to the community by having the players and the organization involved in numerous local events throughout the year.

Entering its 30th season, the NAHL is the oldest and largest Junior A hockey league in the United States. Its primary goal is to enhance the development of its players through top-quality coaching, extensive practice time and a rigorous game schedule. The league is committed to providing these developmental opportunities in conjunction with a commitment to academic support. The league's schedule and playoff schedule is largely designed around weekend travel to minimize educational conflicts.

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