I would like this email to serve as your first introduction to the new management team of the “Classics Hockey League”.
My name is Drew FitzGerald, and although I have played with, or against all of you I wanted to formally introduce myself as the new Commissioner & President of the Classics Hockey League. I have been a member of the South Coastal League since January of 2006 when I joined the Wolves in the Masters Division. I spent several years with the Wolves before spending a season with the Aeros. I am currently the captain of the Blackhawks in the Classics Division, and like all of you I enjoy our hockey league, and the culture that Rick Kelly, Art Riccio, and Bill Sawtelle have developed and provided for all of us to have a safe, and fun forum to play hockey within.
I am not taking this on alone, as I will have instrumental help from an advisory board made up of players among our league. Mike Fay ( Bruins ) will have a huge role in helping me operate the league with perfection. We also will be receiving help & advice from Rick Welch ( Red Wings ) and Bob Sideropoulous ( Rangers ) as well as Hugh Gorman (Rangers ) to make sure the league has parity, structure, and runs seamlessly as we transition into the “Classics Hockey League”.
Like many of you, I was playing in other men’s leagues prior to the SCMHL, but I was frustrated with the lack of commitment, the disregard for rules and structure, having to play teams that clearly were not of the same talent level and having to worry about being on the receiving end of cheap shots each game. Once I was granted the opportunity to play with SCMHL, I knew I was part of something special. There was attention to detail, from the professional uniforms, to quality referees, and the presence of a staff that truly runs a league, as opposed to someone who was faceless just collecting money from afar. I enjoyed knowing that each night I stepped on the ice, we had an opportunity to win, compete, and didn’t have to worry about other teams with ringer players or someone who showed up for just one night with a malicious intent. It was clear that player safety, and league parity were foremost in the structure of the SCMHL and I was very pleased to be a part of it.
I was honored when Rick Kelly approached me about taking over the Classics Division from South Coastal Hockey. He explained to me that it was time for him, Art Riccio and Bill Sawtelle to slowly back away from running a twelve team league. With retirement looming in his personal life, and changes that come along with that stage of life, he feels that now is a good time to begin the process of dialing back. Rick stressed to me that he had been looking for someone to assume operations of the Classics who would not come in and make major changes or let the league deteriorate. He stressed how important the players in the league are to him. Therefore, going forward my goal is to keep everything exactly as is – from our rules, rosters, conduct, game times, and referees. Everything that we have all grown to love about the league will be exactly as Rick has left it. You will notice two small changes in the fall. 1. Our new Classics division will not have a TV game of the week. 2. We will play all games in rink #2 having the 7:20, 8:30 and 9:40 hours.
I want to make it clear that this transition of ownership isn’t a sell out, but rather a hand off. Rick Kelly and Art Riccio have handed over the league to the new management team for the purpose of ensuring that it runs true to its roots, and that all current players have the same safe and structured environment we have all been accustomed to. Rick, Art, and Bill aren’t going away – they will still be involved with helping to fill rosters, be at the rink for players to speak with, and help us be successful as we make our transition.
In the coming weeks you will see a new Classics Hockey website, and you will see your invoice for the fall season billed under the new Classics Hockey League. Please pay promptly as we do expect a 95% -99% return rate to the league, and there will be very little movement or openings in the fall.
On behalf of the new management of the Classics Hockey League I want to thank you in advance for your support, and emphasize that all suggestions or questions are welcome. We are working on setting up an email address for the management of the newly formed league so everyone will have a method of correspondence with league officials.