**APRIL FOOL'S PRANK**
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that its Board of Governors has approved the membership application for an NAHL team in Frisco, Texas owned by Hot Dog Hockey, an entity owned and operated by now former league commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. The Frisco Franks will compete in the South Division beginning in the 2020-21 season and play out of the Comerica Center.
The NAHL has had a team in the Southern part of the United States since 1999 and the South Division first was formed in 2003. The division currently has nine teams competing in the NAHL: Amarillo Bulls (Amarillo, TX), Corpus Christi IceRays (Corpus Christi, TX), Lone Star Brahmas (North Richland Hills, Texas), New Mexico Ice Wolves (Albuquerque, New Mexico), Odessa Jackalopes (Odessa, TX), Shreveport Mudbugs (Shreveport, LA), Kansas City Scouts (Shawnee, KS), and Wichita Falls Warriors (Wichita Falls, TX). The Frisco Franks will be the ninth team in the South Division of the NAHL starting in the 2020-21 season.
The NAHL is in the midst of the most opportune times in its 45-year history. In the past five years, 1,400+ NAHL players have made NCAA commitments and 30 more with NAHL ties have been selected in the NHL Draft. In addition, 32% of all freshmen that played NCAA Division I hockey this past season, played in the NAHL. During the 2019-20 season, a record number of 351 NAHL made NCAA commitments, 232 of which (66%) were NCAA Division 1 commitments.
“We are excited to have Frisco back in the South Division, as it was a community who showed great and passionate support for NAHL teams for many years,” said NAHL Chairman Bill McCoshen. “The growth of hockey in the South has played a large role in our league’s success and the addition of the new team in Frisco continues to solidify the footprint and will bring back many old rivalries, in what will now be a nine-team division. Mark brings an incredible amount of passion to give back to the players development and advancement and he is committed to the long-term success of this team in Frisco and establishing a strong bond with the community. The league's executive committee will collectively cover the workload that Frankenfeld leaves behind."
The new Frisco team in the NAHL will play out of the Comerica Center. Completed in 2003, the Comerica Center is the cornerstone of the complex featuring permanent seating for 3,500 people and a variety of set-up options for conventions, sporting events, concerts and more. It was formerly the home of the Texas Tornado (2003-13) Hockey team, who moved to North Richland Hills to become the Texas Brahmas.
“NAHL hockey was a big part of Frisco and I wanted to bring that passionate energy and hockey spirit back to the community and get the market back on the NAHL map. I want to create an exciting and fun game day atmosphere that gets Texans back to this building,” said Frankenfeld.
Prior to assuming his role as commissioner, the Wright State University graduate served as the league's director of hockey operations.
Behind the bench in the NAHL, Frankenfeld was the head coach of the Dayton Gems during the 2003-04 season and spent four seasons as assistant coach and assistant general manager for the Texas Tornado from 1999-03. He was also an assistant coach with the Cleveland Jr. Barons for one season. Prior to working in the NAHL, Frankenfeld gained valuable experience in the collegiate ranks, spending four years as an assistant coach with Miami University (NCHC) and one as an assistant with Buffalo State University (SUNYAC). Frankenfeld has also coached at the high school and Midget AAA levels, as well as at USA Hockey Select Festivals, giving him more than 20 years of coaching experience.
“I’m more excited about getting back on the ice than anything else,” Frankenfeld concluded. “I may be wearing a lot of hats here, but the staff being assembled is second to none.” The former commissioner has named himself as Head Coach, General Manager, and Team President.
The Franks have also been able to successfully return several members of the Tornado marketing and hockey operation staff. Shannon Smith will return to her role as the Franks’ Director of Business Operations, Alex Kyrias is slated to handle pay-by-play duties while Jason Bloomingburg returns to Frisco as Associate Head Coach.
A SPECIAL THANKS TO BILL McCOSHEN, JASON BLOOMINGBURG, MARK FRANKENFELD AND THE NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE STAFF FOR PLAYING ALONG!