Detroit –— More pro hockey is on the way for the Detroit area.
The St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints will begin play in the Federal Hockey League beginning in early November, joining Port Huron in the eight-team league.
Brandon Contratto, general manager and associate head coach, said St. Clair Shores was a natural fit with its hockey tradition.
“When you talk about St. Clair Shores, it’s the original Hockeytown,” said Contratto, 25, who played at UM-Dearborn and the Czech Republic and Spain, before returning to Michigan. “There’s a long, rich heritage of youth hockey and the families stay in the game, love the game.
“The league has been looking to expand in Michigan, into Metro Detroit, and St. Clair Shores was a perfect choice.”
Contratto has named Dave Debol, a St. Clair Shores native who played with Contratto at UM-Dearborn, head coach of the Saints.
The Saints are being run by Global Hockey Management, headed by Ontario businessman Michael Kolarik, a former Czech player.
The Saints will play at St. Clair Shores Civic Arena, which is undergoing renovations including upgraded seating and locker rooms, and more amenities.
Because of the renovations, seating will be approximately 1,100 fans.
The Federal League’s average is 800 fans.
The Saints will charge $10 for adults and $7 for senior citizens and students, with season tickets for adults topping out at $219 for the 56-game regular season schedule (28 home games).
“It’ll be one of the best bargains for sports around here,” Contratto said. “Affordable, and an exciting brand of hockey.”
The FHL has teams from Danville, Illinois, to Berlin, New Hampshire. Port Huron, in its first year in the FHL, won the Commissioner Cup last month and will give the Saints an immediate rivalry.
The Saints will run at least two tryout camps, the first at Civic Arena from July 29-31. The other, Contratto said, will likely be in San Diego in August.
Players in the FHL are generally undrafted former college or major junior players who are looking to extend their playing careers or get noticed by an EHL or European team.
“There’s been a lot of interest, I’ve had quite a few people already contact me,” Contratto said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
The Fighting Saints
Who: The St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints.
League: Federal Hockey League
Where: The Saints will play in the St. Clair Shores Civic Arena.
When: The 56-game regular season schedule begins in November.
Info: For tryout and organizational information, go to: scsfightingsaints.com.