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Pro Hockey With A Bite is Back

August 1, 2003 - South East Hockey League (SEHL) - Tupelo T-Rex News Release


TUPELO, MS---The Tupelo T-Rex Hockey team is pleased to announce the return of professional hockey to the Northeast Mississippi community. The T-Rex will play the 2003-04 season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL). The ACHL is currently in its second season of operation with teams located in Huntsville, AL, Knoxville, TN, Fayetteville, NC, Winston-Salem, NC and now Tupelo, MS.

“We have been waiting for the right opportunity to come along, the right mix of cities and teams that will make hockey work for this region,” T-Rex Governor Monty Fletcher said. “The ACHL provides us with teams that are close in proximity so we can foster regional rivalries, along with an exciting brand of hockey on the ice.”

The Tupelo T-Rex played the last two seasons as members of the America West Hockey League (AWHL). The AWHL is a developmental junior league, for players between the ages of 16-21 and serves as a feeder into collegiate hockey programs as well as the professional ranks. Tupelo still owns the AWHL franchise for the market, but will not field a junior team this season as the AWHL is in the process of merging with the North American Hockey League (NAHL), another junior hockey league under the USA Hockey system.

“It has been an interesting two years, and we are looking to turn things around on the ice, in the stands, and for the fans,” Fletcher continued. “Junior hockey is a program that never caught on with the fans in Tupelo. It is a good product, but we need something in place that not only makes sense financially, but also something the fans can enjoy and relate to. We have found that brand of hockey we are looking for in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League.”

Tupelo is no stranger to the professional hockey ranks. Before joining the AWHL, the T-Rex played in the now defunct Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) for three seasons, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01. In those three seasons, Tupelo made two playoff appearances in 1999-00 and 2000-01. In 2001, the T-Rex netted the WPHL’s Governors’ Cup for having the best regular season record (46-20-5) amongst all teams in the league, along with rostering the WPHL’s regular season leading scorer and most valuable player.

“The staff has conducted a random sampling survey of past season ticket holders over the last few weeks,” Fletcher said. “The public that supported hockey in the past has been very positive with this move back to the professional ranks. We are happy to bring it back for the fans. We are happy that we found a way to keep hockey alive in Tupelo.”

More news surrounding Tupelo’s jump into the ACHL will be released in the coming weeks, including the team’s head coach and ticket pricing structure for the 2003-04 campaign. For more information about Tupelo T-Rex Hockey, call (662) 844-PUCK.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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