Black Bear Sports Group brings elite junior hockey to Maryland
CHEVY CHASE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“BBSG”) has acquired a franchise in the
North American Hockey League (“NAHL”). The team will play out of the
Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland, beginning with the 2018-19
season. The NAHL is an under-21 hockey league with 24 teams focused on
advancing players to NCAA Division I hockey programs and professional
“We are honored to be granted this opportunity by the NAHL,” said Black
Bear Sports Group’s CEO and founder, Murry Gunty. “We are thrilled to
bring this high level of junior hockey to Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic
and are most excited about the fact that our local talent can now stay
local and have the chance to advance to play NCAA Division I hockey.
It’s a giant opportunity for us and our community.”
The yet-to-be-named team will be based out of the Piney Orchard Ice
Arena, the former training center of the NHL’s Washington Capitals. The
team will utilize the in-house gym, offices and private locker rooms at
the arena. BBSG owns and operates Piney Orchard in partnership with its
manager, Bob Weiss. “Youth hockey in the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia region
has progressed over the past decade to an elite level where we expect
the top players from the area to compete for roster spots against North
America’s top prospects,” said Weiss. “NAHL expansion to Maryland brings
both a higher level of hockey to the area and a path for our youth
players to NCAA hockey.”
The franchise is expected to announce a team name and staff in the
upcoming weeks. Tryouts will be held in May in advance of the NAHL’s
June draft. Dates and times will be released on their NAHL
team page shortly.
The NAHL franchise is the first junior hockey team purchased by BBSG.
BBSG owns and operates nine ice rinks across the United States,
including two in Maryland. BBSG also operates two elite under-18 youth
hockey clubs: Team Maryland AAA (Maryland) and the Mercer Chiefs AAA
(New Jersey), which will directly feed the NAHL team.
About Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“BBSG”) is a privately held company
formed by Murry Gunty in 2015 that seeks investments in sports and
entertainment facilities, teams and youth sports events. Our arenas are
clean and professionally managed, and offer world-class recreational
offerings. We focus on ice arenas in metropolitan areas with compelling
demographics, markets with a National Hockey League club presence and
arenas with an existing Tier I or Tier II youth hockey presence . We
have the ability to acquire healthy and stable arenas, but also to turn
around under-managed or under-performing facilities. BBSG currently owns
and operates nine arenas across the United States with a total of 17
sheets of indoor ice, two indoor turf fields, two youth hockey clubs and
one junior hockey franchise.
About the North American Hockey League
The NAHL, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league boasting
24 teams from across North America, prides itself on the social maturity
and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of
advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey. So far during the
2017-18 season, 217 players have made NCAA commitments, 90% of which are
NCAA Division I commitments. In addition, three NAHL players that played
in the league this past season were selected in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
Murry Gunty, 240-223-1333