NAHL announces relocation of WBS Knights to Danbury, Connecticut
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the NAHL Board of Governors has approved the relocation of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights to Danbury, Connecticut for the 2020-21 season. The team will be named the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks and play out of the Danbury Ice Arena, which is also home to the Danbury Colonials of the NA3HL.
"We are looking forward to having NAHL hockey right here in town, which brings the highest level of junior hockey to the area. The addition of this team aligns to our vision of turning the Danbury Arena into a premier hockey destination. We can't wait to drop the puck - we know our fans are going to love this team and the energy it brings,” said Herm Sorcher, Partner - DP 110 - ownership group of the Danbury Arena.
The Knights have been a member of the NAHL since the 2015-16 season. The Knights’ organization enjoyed its’ most successful season to date in 2018, reaching 30 wins in the regular season and earning 66 points in the standings to clinch a playoff berth for the third consecutive season. The team not only made the playoffs, but also won its’ first playoff series, dispatching of the New Jersey Titans in a best-of-five that went the distance. The following round, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton swept the Philadelphia Rebels, thus clinching the 2018 NAHL East Division and subsequently earning the opportunity to compete in the Robertson Cup Championship.
“Wilkes-Barre/Scranton provided a great location for the first five years of the membership history,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “Danbury has been a market of interest for years and will provide a great home for many years to come. It’s really exciting for me that all the local fans will finally be able to experience the high level of play on the ice and the very competitive East Division rivals."
Danbury will be coached by head coach Billy McCreary, who himself is an NAHL graduate. He played junior hockey in the NAHL for the Texas Tornado and amassed 45 goals and 71 assists in 98 career games. He was named to the All-Rookie team and a First Team All-Star during the 2002-03 season. This past season, McCreary was the head coach and general manager of the Danbury Hat Tricks of the FHL and was named as the league’s Coach of the Year. A native of Southampton, Ontario, McCreary is a 9-year (2006-15) Minor League Hockey veteran as both a player & coach. His playing resume includes time spent with the Trenton Titans (ECHL), Huntsville Havoc (SPHL), New Mexico Scorpions (CHL) and the New Jersey Outlaws (FHL). He was part of championship teams in both Hunstville (2010) and New Jersey (2012), where he served a dual role as player-coach. Collegiately, McCreary played for Providence College (Hockey East) and Curry College (ECAC-NE).
“The arrival of the NAHL is an exciting moment for not only hockey in Danbury, but the entire state of Connecticut. The North American Hockey League has been instrumental in developing players into NCAA student athletes and we are honored to continue that tradition,” said McCreary. “We are extremely excited to be able to build a culture that embodies the spirit of the NAHL, while focusing on developing our players into future NCAA and Professional athletes. It’s our commitment to not only helping our players achieve their goals, but to also build a ‘family’ that competes for a Robertson Cup year in and year out."