JAMESTOWN – Northwest Arena officials announced Tuesday the ‘Rebels’ will call the city home starting this season, replacing the Southern Tier Xpress.
The team is migrating from Philadelphia, where they played in the East Division of the North American Hockey League.
Team Owner Ken Dennis said the team left Philly because the city has many teams. Dennis was trying to find a place to stand out and feel welcome.
“They’ve got lots of major sports: they’ve got the Eagles, the Flyers, the 76ers, the Phillys,” said Dennis. “By the time you get by all the big time pro sports, you are not very important.”
“In a town that’s got a smaller population, that doesn’t have an NHL Team, isn’t going to have an NHL Team, this is great hockey. Almost every one of the kids are going to play at a high level.”
Dennis said the East Division is very competitive and fans will see an exciting variety of talent on the ice.
“We bring in kids from all over the world,” said Dennis. “From Sweden, from Germany, Russia and Canada, it is not just local kids, it’s the best we can find in the world.”
The team is also looking forward to taking advantage of the area’s supporting community. Currently, they are looking for families to volunteer to host players at their homes.
Coach Joe Coombs is excited for the fall and the opportunity to make the community proud of their team.
“My message to you guys is we are going to engrain ourselves in this town, we are going to be well behaved and run a disciplined program you can be proud of,” said Coombs. “I know, certainly, how we do things. It is not going to be long until you are proud.”
Games are expected to start this fall.