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Daily Dish: Phony SEAL, Phony League? Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 27 Aug 2012  
By: Stephen Heisler,

We have been following the progress of the Tropical Elite Hockey League for some time and I have been accused of having some type of personal issue with the organization. Let's make this perfectly clear, my issue is the fact that commissioner Stirling Wright has been attempting to pass this league off as Junior "A" caliber, telling players that they have 7-8 teams, and trying to pull players away from other more established leagues.

What Wright fails to tell players is that three teams are set to play out of a single rink. Folks, that's not "A" level junior hockey, that's house hockey. 

The league's own Facebook page admitted to not securing ownership for the Tampa Bay team. Wright has pitched his dream to potential team owners across the state, closing meetings with the demand of a $35,000 league fee and later asking for a $5,000 deposit.  

In a discussion with Daytona Beach Blaze Owner/General Manager/Head Coach Micheal Chighisola on Saturday, it was learned that Wright has left the country to attend a former team reunion in Scotland. I have to wonder how he paid for that, considering that he was in need of someone to provide him the use of a house and car before venturing to Florida just a few months ago.

On numerous occasions, Wright has told me stories of his time with the United States Navy SEALS. I am not the only one that has heard this. When recently confronted about his time with the SEALS, Wright denied ever telling anyone that. Last week, an image, that Wright posted of himself as a SEAL,  managed to find its way to my desk, along with this note:

Notice the navy picture has a seal crest (Trident) on it. The issue with this is that the image was defiantly photo shopped. This photo is a service entry photo in boot camp. Blow it up you will see the neck handkerchief (necktie) in under the crest which in uniform would be placed 2.5 inches on the left of it... and would touch it. Besides the crest would not be issued in entry photos. Eight weeks of boot camp plus A school then BUDS and assignment to teams and then issued about a year after that.
Yes, it has everything to do with hockey because it outlines the character of the man trying to form and manage this league. Wright has tried to pass this image off as authentic. Stolen Valor is not taken lightly by the boys that earned the right to be called SEALS. 
I wanted to believe in Wright, and discussed the situation with my brother, Christopher Heisler. A disabled veteran, he has taken patriotism to new levels as the president of the Honor Network,  a 501.C.3 non-profit organization dedicated to memorializing those Heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for their family, community and country.  It also serves to foster education of the American public regarding all Heroes, past and present, and their organizations, including police, fire, and our nation's military.

My brother put me in touch with another organization that is dedicated to the protection of the SEAL's valor. When I inquired about Wright, this was the response.
I greatly appreciate your interest in upholding the honor of the US Navy SEAL Teams, and your search for the TRUTH. Before answering your questions I must make clear that I am a private individual, not affiliated with the US Dept. of Defense or any other government organization. My efforts to expose SEAL imposters are performed as a service to the public, and in honor of my fallen SEAL Teammates... men who truly earned the right to the title "US NAVY SEAL" but who are no longer able to stand forward in defense of their honor, their reputations, and their TEAMs. 

If the name you provided is spelled correctly, I do NOT find a listing in the SEAL Database (SEAL Teams and predecessor units from 1943 to the Present Day) for anyone named STIRLING WRIGHT.  I have also examined possible alternate spellings, and names with similar pronunciations without finding any that appear to be applicable. 

Unless he has undertaken the unlikely action of a legal name change (an action for which there would be evidence in the form of court documentation) since his claimed participation in SEAL training, and based upon the information you have provided, I can state conclusively that STIRLING WRIGHT has NEVER COMPLETED SEAL training, and he is not now, nor was he ever a Navy SEAL, a Navy UDT "Frogman", a member of any Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU), or a member of the Naval Amphibious Scouts & Raiders (S&R). 

Many SEAL imposters when confronted with the information I have provided will resort to claiming that their records are sealed, burned or their SEAL Operations were Classified and that there are no official records of them.

Before any classified operations may be undertaken as a SEAL Operator, a man must first successfully complete the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training program and then the follow-on secondary training program. The names of all those who successfully graduate from that training program sequence are compiled in the SEAL database. Later participation in classified operations has "no impact" on whether or not a person is listed as a graduate of the training program. 

There are records of every man who has qualified for the title of "SEAL"; there have been and will continue to be secret missions, but there are NO secret SEALs.

Once again I must stress that although I am a US Navy veteran, and a former SEAL, I am a civilian performing in an entirely unofficial role. I recommend that you obtain a formal/official US NAVY statement regarding Mr. STIRLING WRIGHT's claimed SEAL credentials. To do so you may contact the PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE at the NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE COMMAND in San Diego by calling    (619) 537-1133, or you may contact the FOIA COORDINATOR at the NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE COMMAND in San Diego, California, and submit a formal FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT inquiry in writing addressed to:Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, FOIA Coordinator, 2000 Trident Way, San Diego, CA 92155

  Thank you again for your concern in this matter, and for your assistance in upholding the honor of the US Navy SEAL Teams. If I can be of any further assistance to you in this matter, please contact me at your convenience. 


Don Shipley 
BUD/S 131, SEAL Team ONE, SEAL Team TWO.

Wright also often claims to be a retired Law Enforcement Officer and that has not been able to be verified. It takes twenty years, or more, of service to be able to retire. His own Linkedin account mentions nothing other than his work at Atlantic Polygraph, a company that he claims was owned and operated by him. My brother believes that Wright has completely fabricated, or overstated, his work with state and federal law enforcement. There is nothing in Wright's educational background that leads us to believe that he ever took part in interrogations of sex offenders or assisted with criminal profiling outside the possibility of conducting polygraph services.

It is my opinion that Wright has developed a pattern of overstating his abilities and achievements. I believe he has also heavily exaggerated the progress of the TEHL.  

A few years ago, Wright was involved with the formation of the North East Professional Hockey League and owned two of the teams, the New England Pharaohs and Twin City Yeti. Wright had a major health setback just prior to the start of the season, forcing both teams to suddenly fold. At the time I told Wright that I knew he did not have the financial strength to own and operate a single professional hockey team, much less two. The loss of the two teams quickly crippled the league and it sputtered through the season with two and half teams and croaked. Most involved place the blame squarely onto Wright's shoulders. Wikipedia has a nice entry in regards to that fiasco.

At this point I am left with no other choice but to believe that the TEHL is heading down the same road as the NEPHL and highly recommend that players should secure a backup plan.


I never like to see situations like this take place and will do everything in my power to make sure that each of the players in this league has an option to play somewhere else. For those in need of assistance, please feel free to contact me directly at  281-973-5345.
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Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco with his wife, Maria, and their two children, Sonia and Tomas. Friend him on Facebook!/stephen.heisler for more information and pictures from Mexico. 

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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