By Ben Peach —
New Ownership Looking to Make Big Impact in Hockey-Rich Community
The United States Premier Hockey League is proud to unveil the newest face in the USPHL Premier division, the Buffalo Stampede.
Filling the void left by the Buffalo Thunder, the new franchise was purchased by the ownership group from the Columbus Mavericks, Joe Gillespie and Joey Recktenwald, who are looking to bring not only a fresh face to the Buffalo junior hockey landscape, but also a positive impact on the community.
Recktenwald, who spent a portion of his own youth and junior hockey days in western New York, is excited to rebuild a franchise with a rich history in a market where hockey runs deep.
“When you think of great U.S. hockey cities, Buffalo is always in the conversation. Buffalo is passionate about its sports teams, and we’re eager to create a program that will be an integral part of the community, for players and fans alike.”
Recktenwald also noted the benefits of keeping a USPHL team in the area.
“The USPHL brings a lot of credibility and stability to junior hockey in all of its markets, so it was important to us to make sure that Buffalo remained a part of that footprint.”
Co-Owner, Joe Gillespie added that he is looking forward to bringing their unique ownership and management style to Buffalo. “We have had great success building a program in Columbus with our player-first mentality on and off the ice, and we are excited to bring that experience to the Stampede.”
A big part of that focus is on player development and advancement.
“Our ultimate goal is to help our players achieve their dreams by developing them into skilled hockey players as well as well-rounded young men.”
It won’t be all new faces in Buffalo this year; however, as the new owners plan to build upon relationships with current players and staff.
Mike Chirico, the GM of the Thunder who will continue to work with the Stampede, is excited about this new era in Buffalo junior hockey.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the new owners to build a program our city can be proud of,” Chirico said. “We’ve had a bit of a talent drain in recent years with local players going elsewhere to find a junior hockey home, but we have the opportunity now to offer the enormous amount of local talent a great place to grow and develop right in their own back yard.”
Chirico is also excited to build on the team’s recent successes.
“I’m really proud of our guys for coming together and battling through an unusual and tough season. And despite playing nearly all of our games on the road this past season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to move our highest number of players on to college hockey teams.”