Schlegel Sports has announced that the NAHL’s Texas Tornado will return to the ice in the fall of 2009. The 2009-10 season will celebrate the 10th year of Tornado hockey, along with the premiere of the newly renovated Deja Blue Arena.
“With the new, enhanced upgrades made to the Deja Blue Arena, we’re poised to offer a great experience to fans in this region and are excited to be bringing back the winning tradition of Texas Tornado,” said Kirby Schlegel, team owner and CEO of Schlegel Sports. “We are looking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary season are excited to have Tony Curtale back behind the bench.”
“We couldn’t be happier to have the Tornado back on the ice next season,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “The organization’s track record speaks for itself as its relates to its on-ice success and reputation for being one of the top developers of collegiate and professional hockey players in North America.”
The Tornado will begin play in September of 2009 after taking a one-year hiatus last season while the City of Frisco and the Dallas Stars completed an expansion of Deja Blue Arena at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Frisco.
Seating capacity at the newly renovated arena has increased from the old configuration of 3,733 seats to 4,944 seats. A new concourse level club lounge has been added with direct access to the suites on the west side of the arena.
The newly expanded and renovated facility will feature additional suites, new restrooms, concourse concessions, an enhanced promenade, two new video boards and a new parking garage incorporating 1,000 additional parking spaces.
“We wanted to enhance the fan experience from the moment you park the car through the end of the evening. We try to make it the best place to enjoy an affordable family night out,” said Schlegel.
“Deja Blue Arena was already a great facility, and with its expansion and renovations it’s now the premier facilities in all of junior hockey,” said Frankenfeld.
The Tornado will once again be directed on the ice by Curtale, who will serve as the team's head coach and general manager.
Curtale, who coached the Tornado from its inaugural season in 1999-00 through the 2006-07 season, will return behind the bench for his ninth season as coach of the three-time national champions.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to be back with the Tornado and look forward to continuing the winning tradition in front of some of the best fans in sports,” said Curtale.
Curtale was honored as NAHL Coach of the Year in 2003-04 and Executive of the Year in 1999-00. He guided the Tornado to three consecutive national championships from 2004 to 2006, becoming only the third team in history to win three straight titles.
“Tony's experience in junior hockey, especially the NAHL, is second to none,” said Frankenfeld. “To have a coach of his caliber back in our league is a real asset.”
The Tornado’s return also strengthens the NAHL’s footprint in the South Division.
“Texas’ return opens a lot of doors for us,” said Frankenfeld. “The South is already one of our strongest divisions, and having the Tornado back obviously makes it even stronger with a potential for more positive growth.”
Since their inception in 1999, the Tornado has set the standard for excellence for junior hockey in the United States. Besides their three straight national championships from 2004-06, the Tornado has won seven NAHL regular-season division titles and had seven straight 40-plus win seasons from 1999-2007.
Its seventh straight division crown in 2007 tied a 30-year NAHL record, and its seven straight 40-plus-win seasons is an NAHL record. The Tornado has developed and moved on over 80 players in nine years onto NCAA and professional teams.
Information regarding new season-ticket packages and plans can be found at the official Web site of the Texas Tornado, TornadoHockey.com.