Rebels Need Financial Success In Jamestown

Ken Dennis was looking for the right fit for his Philadelphia Rebels, a successful team that has had an itinerant history through little fault of its own. Northwest Savings Bank Arena officials were looking to return to a higher level of hockey with a long-term commitment to the arena.

By all indications, it appears everyone will get what they were looking for with Tuesday’s announcement that the Rebels will call the Northwest Savings Bank Arena home.

Much like the reborn Jamestown Jammers, the Jamestown Rebels are the type of team where one can watch players looking to take the next step in their careers. Unlike the Xpress, whose parents paid the Xpress to play, players try out for Tier 2 hockey teams and win positions on their own merit and receive professional coaching with the team picking up the costs. The team is made up of 16- to 20-year-olds who are bridging the gap between high school hockey and college hockey. Six Rebels players have gone on to play in the National Hockey League while dozens of the team’s players have gone on to play Division 1 college hockey, including seven Division 1 placements this year. The Rebels also come to Jamestown having won three consecutive division championships.

Of course, bringing in the Rebels means the end of the Southern Tier Xpress — though that shouldn’t be taken to mean the Xpress were a failure. Four years ago, 10 civic-minded businessmen gave their time and money to create the Xpress. Their efforts kept junior hockey in Jamestown for four years and set the stage for the Rebels to come to the city. Without the Xpress, the return of Tier 2 junior hockey to Jamestown likely wouldn’t have happened. And, the Xpress’ owners are staying involved with the Rebels as an advisory committee.

Only time will tell if Dennis and the Rebels succeed in Jamestown where the Jamestown Ironmen, the last Tier 2 NAHL team in Jamestown, failed. Dennis is confident, though, that the pitfalls that befell the Ironmen can be avoided by his franchise. Dennis’ organization has been successful on the ice. Here’s hoping it is just as successful financially here in Jamestown.