Traverse City Hounds of the U.S. Premier Hockey League have added to their ownership group.
Lester Griffin, a retired police officer from South Carolina who now lives in Traverse City, has taken over as majority owner of the Hounds, who won back-to-back championships while members of the erstwhile Midwest Jr. Hockey League.
Scott Gardiner and Randy Montrose, co-founders of the Hounds, will remain with the Traverse City team as minority owners and in the hockey department.
The 50-year old Gardiner, who as a player was a first-round, Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Belleville Bulls, will be an assistant to returning head coach Jacek Wilk. And Montrose will carry on as general manager of the Hounds.
Gardiner told HockeyNewsNorth.com that Griffin will concentrate on the business and marketing side as majority owner of the Hounds.
“We have put a great product out on to the ice as evidenced by our championships but we need help on the business side and Lester has the time and the ability to focus on that area for us,” said Gardiner.
Gardiner and Griffin have a hockey relationship that dates back many years when Traverse City had a team in the North American Hockey League.
Now that he is retired and living in the picturesque northern Michigan town of Traverse City full time, the 58-year old Griffin said he is looking forward to attracting more corporate sponsorship for the Hounds.
“Joining a great league like the USPHL is a step up for us and our fans,” Griffin told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “We want to improve our corporate sponsorship base and we want to get out there and be more involved in the community.
“Scott and Randy are great hockey people and I could not get into this as majority owner without both of them staying on. I am very excited about the upcoming season and for the future of junior hockey in Traverse City,” Griffin added.