Maine Hockey Journal

Sheehan added to Fighting Spirit front office

LEWISTON – Besides the announcement of the season schedule on Tuesday, the L/A Fighting Spirit also announced additions to its front office staff.

Wayne Sheehan, who left his post as the NA3EHL commissioner, has joined the team as assistant general manager.

“A couple of things motivated me to make this decision,” Sheehan said. “I took the league all-star team to Blaine, Minnesota for the North American 3 (Hockey League) showcase and it was pretty exciting to be back on the bench, to be dealing with the players, to get them up and motivated for a game. I definitely missed the interaction with the players and having a direct impact putting kids into college. Having seeing the enthusiasm in this community with this team coming in and knowing Ron as I do on how committed he is making a difference in players’ lives, it was pretty easy to come work for.”

His duties will include not only working with the junior team but develop the youth program that recently was approved by MEAHA and USA Hockey.

“I am pretty excited to grow this program from the bottom up because we really need a solid foundation,” Sheehan said. “I really think this is amazing opportunity to grow hockey in this area. A community that’s hungry for hockey and to have established winning program and I am excited to be a part of that.”

He also said his focus will be 75 percent of the youth program and 25 percent of the junior program.

Sheehan, who was one of the owners Eastern Kodiaks before joining league office, brings a veteran presence to the staff.

“As you can tell our staff is young,” Simmons said. “We want young coaches, coaches that can mold to what our philosophies are and ultimately helping young people. You can cut it any way you want, the bottom line is we are here to help young people. Wayne will bring that stability with us and Wayne is also there as I said for the possibility of progression of growth.”

As for the commissioner position, Sheehan said the league hasn’t named a permanent replacement, but Craig Burnett – North American Hockey League’s Director of Player Personal – will be the temporary replacement.

Another reason he moved from the league office was there maybe changes to the league after the 2015-16 season.

“They (NAHL) were surprised when I spoke to them about three weeks ago, which I wanted to go work for the Fighting Spirit,” Sheehan said. “They temporarily handed my duties to Craig Barnett. I think after this upcoming season and the NA3 East is consolidated into the larger NA3HL, a more central control would have occurred anyway.”

The NA3HL is the sister league of the NA3EHL, and they have 35 teams spanning from Montana to New York. Right now, the commissioner and president of the NAHL Mark Frankenfeld is the NA3HL commissioner.

Also joining the Fighting Spirit staff is Cam Robichaud of Auburn, who’s coming from the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs program. Brett Barrett who has spent the last three years with the Portland Jr. Pirates youth program in Lewiston is now the Junior Fighting Spirit Youth Hockey Director

Fighting Spirit will be patient as the landscape of junior hockey changes

Simmons spoke more about the process of joining the Tier II North American Hockey League in which they pulled their application last month.

“We chose to hold out until the volatility (of junior hockey) in the east coast settles down,” Simmons said. “The North American League, the closest team would be Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. We don’t find that necessarily conducive to our athletes, our community or our travel. Until they figure it out, we will do best for the community and first and foremost our athletes.”

Simmons added he had been contacted by other junior leagues on the east coast about leaving the NA3EHL.

“Giving all the financial considerations, we both feel patience is the right decision right now,” Sheehan said. (We) really have an opportunity to develop a solid foundation with the team we are going to have next season and properly plan for growth.”

Kevin Kaminski heading back to Louisiana

Pirates’ USPHL Elite coach and a member of the Portland Pirates Hall of Fame Kevin Kaminski has been named the Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach of the new expansion franchise Louisiana Drillers of the NA3HL. The Drillers will play in the sister league of the NA3EHL where the L/A Fighting Spirit play.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login