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Maryland group launches initiative to bring ECHL team to Frederick

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A grassroots community initiative is trying to bring a professional hockey team back to the Old Line State.

Pro Hockey MD“a collective of local creatives, business owners and residents,” is in phase one of its plan to get the ECHL to bring a new franchise to Frederick, Maryland. The group's goal is to gain enough support for the movement in Frederick, Howard County and the entire state to eventually reach advisors and investors for a future professional hockey club.

The movement's website cites data showing that Fredrick is an equal or better market than many of the current ECHL teams. They also mention that since 2000, every state on the East Coast has had some form of professional hockey, with the exception of Maryland.

The site also includes preliminary arena plans for a building on Stadium Drive in Frederick, right next to Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, where the Frederick Keys play baseball.

The visualizations show a 5,000-seat venue with room for possible involvement from Hood College Athletics, a professional basketball team, concerts and restaurants.

Additionally, these representations included a “Community Ice Rink” with two NHL-standard-sized ice surfaces, seating for 1,200 people each, pro shops, other retail space, food stands, a public gym and team offices.

At this point, the arena renderings are still just wishful thinking and part of an effort to mobilize support, as there are no concrete plans for a sequel.

Pro Hockey MD currently has partnerships with Attaboy Barrel House, Hood College Ice Hockey, Big Celly Hockey Co., the Frederick Keys and Flying Cows Basketball. They hosted their grand opening party at Attaboy which also featured a ball hockey tournament.

Their next event is the Big Celly Open golf tournament at Whiskey Creek Golf Club in October.

RMNB has been informed that they will also be participating in the Keys Hockey Day on July 12th.

The last professional hockey franchise in Maryland was the Chesapeake Ice Breakers, who played in the ECHL from 1997 to 1999 at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The state has been home to several other franchises in the past, including the Baltimore Clippers (AHL, SPHL), Baltimore Skipjacks (EHL, ACHL, AHL), and Baltimore Bandits (AHL).

Maryland's current highest level of ice hockey is played by the Maryland Black Bears of the NAHL. Founded in 2018, the junior team plays at the Piney Orchard Arena in Odenton, Maryland.

The NHL's Washington Capitals have looked into Maryland in the past, playing some preseason games at the Baltimore Arena in the early 2010s. The team's 2018 Stadium Series game against the Toronto Maple Leafs also took place at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.