Savannah Ghost Pirates will soon become the affiliate of NHL Vegas Golden Knights. Ghost Pirates are scheduled to open their play later this year, and many Golden Knights’ prospects & draft picks to play for Savannah as a part of the player development cycle.
The affiliate announcement was made by the officials of Ghost Pirates with their President, Bob Ohrablo, stating that the expansion team was mindful of its first impression in the Savannah market.
Bob Ohrablo added that the team knows that it has one year to be the first year, and they want to do it right, acknowledging that the management took a big step by bringing Vegas on board.
The Chief Executive Officer & majority owner of the team, Andy Kaufmann, said Vegas was a top priority even though 7 to 8 top NHL teams could have been available. Andy Kaufmann highlighted that Vegas was a team that deeply invests in the talent pool at the ECHL level with a history of winning even though they are a young franchise.
Vegas recently concluded its affiliation with Fort Wayne; however, it still has a multi-year contract with Savannah. Officials concluded the press conference to follow it with a casino night with table games being set up in different areas. The redesigned area had booths for merchandise and ticket purchases. The team also took this opportunity to reveal their head coach’s name – Rick Bennett.
Rick Bennett has a brief history of playing in three seasons of NHL from 1989 to 1992, where he ran for 15 games at left wing for the New York Rangers. Another feather in his professional cap is that of leading Union College of Albany for 11 seasons, including two Frozen Four appearances.
He understands the league of Ghost Pirates as he has played at Providence College and for ECHL teams. When asked how he would react to not knowing the makeup of his team, Rick Bennet called that an exciting part adding that that was a part of fun & challenge, and the team would have to do with what they had.
Tim Speltz, Henderson General Manager, and Andrew Lugerner, Vegas Director of hockey legal affairs, specifically toured the announcement location. Tim and Andrew found the expansion aspect attractive, saying that the aspect was really exciting of starting something from scratch to build a culture from the first day. Andrew Lugerner called it a perfect fit.
Andrew Lugerner also talked about Savannah and the building that opened earlier this year. He called it a first-class facility where players were going to want to play.
Tim Speltz also lauded the facilities and amenities made available to players. He will be a key collaborator with hockey operations in Savannah. Tim Speltz came across the community’s enthusiasm and found it unbelievably filled with passion & excitement. The Savannah Ghost Pirates will make their debut on November 05, 2022, after opening their inaugural season on October 22, 2022, in Greenville, South Carolina.