TRAVERSE CITY —
There's something fishy going on at Centre ICE.
Traverse City's new Junior A hockey team unveiled its logo and website Monday, ushering in the era of the Traverse City Cohos.
"We were looking at a bunch of up north themes — black bears and hawks and things like that," team owner, general manager and coach Scott Gardiner said. "We decided to stay with a fishing theme and we came up with the coho salmon. We really haven't heard of another team in the United State called the cohos, so we thought it would be unique. ... And for years, there were hockey sticks made by a company called Koho. So there's another little tie with the hockey world. I don't think Koho even makes a stick anymore, but back in the '70s and '80s, it was a popular stick."
The team's website — www.traversecitycohos.com — also launched Monday evening.
The Cohos — who will give Traverse City a Junior team to replace the departed North Stars — will conduct a tryout camp on July 20-21 at a cost of $125 per player for three on-ice sessions and two meetings. Franchises in the 14-team Midwest Junior Hockey League are limited to carrying a maximum of 25 players, although Gardiner said he expects to have about 23 so the players will get a little more playing time.
Travel costs will likely be lower than the North Stars, as the MWJHL's seven-team division that features the Cohos will consist entirely of Michigan teams. The division will be made up of Traverse City, Sault Ste. Marie, Brownstown, Hartland, Holland, Fraser and the Michigan IceDogs.
The MWJHL uses a pay-to-play business model in which players who are chosen have to pay to be on the team. The North American Hockey League that the North Stars belonged to did not allow pay-to-play contracts.
Gardiner — who previously led the Traverse City Enforcers and was the North Stars' first coach — said he sees the use of pay-to-play contracts expanding over time.
"Eventually, the North American league will be pay-to-play," Gardiner said. "I can foresee that in the future. Just because there are too many teams dropping (out). They just can't fund themselves. Look at the Marquette Rangers and Alpena — it just keeps happening over and over again. It's a bad business plan. You have to have some sort of income to at least pay your bills."
General admission single-game tickets will be $5. The season is slated for 50 games, so the Cohos will have 23-25 home games, depending on if the league is able to have a showcase tournament.
Gardiner and former Howell varsity coach Randy Montrose are co-owners of both the Traverse City and Hartland teams in the league. Montrose runs the Hounds, while Gardiner controls to Cohos.
"My main goal — of course we want to win games — but we want to develop young guys," Gardiner said. "I want kids to move on to the USHL or try to get them Division 1 scholarships. And our older guys, we'll try to get them into Division 3, there's some darn good club teams or get them overseas. I look at it like the Enforcers. We didn't get very many Division 1 scholarships back in those days. I think we had maybe two in two years. But we moved just about every guy on — Division 3, we had five guys go to Europe, we had six or seven go on to play in the Southern Professional League, a few went to the USHL."
Gardiner wanted a name that reflects 'up north' theme
TRAVERSE CITY —
There's something fishy going on at Centre ICE.
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