FRESNO, Calif. – Feb. 24, 2006 – Charles Davenport and Chandar Sports announced the sale of the ECHL’s Fresno Falcons AA hockey club today to Fresno Hockey Club, LLC (FHC). FHC has secured all of the required approvals from the ECHL Board of Governors and Save Mart Center, the current home of the Falcons.
Davenport purchased the Fresno Falcons in 2000. Under his direction, the Falcons front office was recognized twice as the West Coast Hockey League’s Organization of the Year, and the team won the league’s Taylor Cup Championship in 2002. The WCHL ceased operations after the 2002-03 season, and Davenport moved the Falcons into the ECHL and the 13,800-seat Save Mart Center as an expansion team at the start of the 2003-2004 season.
“The Fresno Falcons history dates back to 1946,” said Davenport, Chairman of Chandar Sports. “We are proud of what we have done with this exciting sports franchise and are very appreciative of the warm and growing support we’ve received from the people of Fresno for our fast-paced brand of hockey. We wish the new owners every success in the years ahead.”
Chandar sold the Falcons to FHC, a group made up of most of the current owners of the Fresno Grizzlies AAA baseball franchise. FHC’s Managing Partner is Chris Cummings, a successful Boston-based real estate developer. The other FHC Partners include Chris’ brother Bill Cummings, a public affairs executive with Exxon Mobil Corporation; Brian Glover, a Fresno native who is also in the real estate development field; and Arline Parfitt, a successful local businesswoman.
“We are very proud to be associated with the Fresno Falcons hockey club,” said Chris Cummings. “Chandar has made the Falcons a star attraction in the ECHL, and the Falcons players are doing everyone in Fresno proud with their division-leading performance in the 2005-2006 season. We think there are great synergies in bringing the Grizzlies and Falcons organizations together, especially in the areas of cross-promotions and merchandising.”
FHC has tabbed John Tull to run the Falcons as the organization’s CEO. Tull is an 18-year veteran of professional sports management who previously oversaw the team’s business operations for parts of three seasons from 2000-2002. During that time, he was named the WCHL’s 2001 Executive of the Year and was at the helm for the team’s Organization of the Year Awards in 2001 and 2002. Tull most recently worked in Fraser, Mich., as president of the United Hockey League’s Motor City Mechanics.
The Falcons are among 25 teams in the ECHL competing for the prestigious Kelly Cup. They are affiliated with the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks and the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Barons. Head Coach and General Manager Matt Thomas currently has the Falcons positioned atop the ECHL’s Pacific Division and on pace to win the first-ever division title in the team’s 11-year professional history with a record of 30-10-10.