-Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert leads group purchasing franchise.-
Cleveland, Ohio – May 22, 2006 – An ownership group led by Cavaliers majority owner and Quicken Loans Chairman and founder Daniel Gilbert has purchased the Utah Grizzlies American Hockey League (AHL) franchise. The currently inactive AHL franchise will now be operated in Cleveland and call Quicken Loans Arena, also known as “The Q,” its home ice. Gilbert is also the operator of Quicken Loans Arena.
The purchase was unanimously approved today by the AHL’s Board of Governors at its annual Spring Meeting. The franchise will not begin play until the 2007-08 season.
“We believe pro hockey can have a very successful future in downtown Cleveland, especially as part of the Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena family,” said Gilbert. “We’ve got a great deal of confidence in the market, and we’ll approach this the same way we approach all of our business – give it the support it needs, build it the right way and make it something really fun that people want to be a part of.”
The AHL’s Cleveland Barons recently concluded their final campaign at The Q. The Barons, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, are relocating to Worcester, Massachusetts to start play there with the 2006-07 season.
“We think the equation for pro hockey success is present here and we will start work immediately in laying a solid foundation to develop the franchise. Having ownership that is firmly committed to this is a big factor,” said Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena President Len Komoroski. “The additional time to put the pieces in place by waiting to take the ice in 07-08 is also part of the formula. Our market has engaged with pro hockey at a very high level in years past and we’re confident our team will generate that kind of support again.”
Fans are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas for the team by visiting the new franchise’s temporary web site www.clevelandprohockey.com, where they can also sign-up to receive email updates on the team and learn more about the AHL.
# # #