Club to relocate to Ann Arbor and operate boys and girls AAA Tier 1, Tier 2 Travel & Tier 3 House Hockey
Ann Arbor, MI – The Ann Arbor Ice Cube (AAIC) has been named the new home of the Biggby Coffee Hockey Club beginning Spring 2023. The new club will offer youth hockey teams for all youth players at every skill level, Instructional, House (T3), Travel (T2), and AAA (T1). Before this merger, Biggby rostered both boys’ and girls’ teams at the AAA- T1 level. With this new partnership, all levels of youth hockey in Ann Arbor will be rostered under the Biggby Hockey Club name. As part of a new partnership between AAIC’s new operator, Black Bear Sports Group (BBSG), and the Biggby club, the arena has hired full-time staff to bolster its year-round hockey programs and offerings. Beginning with the 2023-24 season, players rostered under Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association (AAAHA) Travel and House teams will roster under Biggby Coffee Hockey Club. AAIC remains the home ice arena of Ann Arbor residents and current AAAHA players. Current players will be directed to AAA and Travel tryouts or House registrations. Peggy Costello, current Executive Director of AAAHA will transition to a new role as Director of Hockey Operations for AAIC and the Biggby Coffee Youth Club, and together with Tom Berry, Executive Director of Biggby AAA Hockey, will lead all hockey operations for the club and the rink.
The expanded Biggby Coffee Hockey Club is projected to have 600+ members comprising of Learn to Play Programs, Introductory Leagues, and all three levels (AAA, Travel, and House) of boys and girls hockey providing the community with hockey opportunities for all ages and skill levels. New jerseys will be provided for all members. Other key highlights of the partnership include:
- Exposure for Tier 2 Travel & House players to Tier 1 coaches and trainers
- Full-time, professional staff managing year-round hockey programs.
- Consolidation improves the player pool and consistency of level of play.
- Tier 1 advancement opportunities in the same arena for boys and girls
- Increased off-season programming and skill development opportunities at the rink.
- Black Bear Sports Group’s Free Gear “Rookie Program” for first-time players.
- For players with college hockey ambition, access, and exposure to Black Bear’s affiliated Junior Hockey clubs: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), Maryland Black Bears (NAHL), Mercer Chiefs (NCDC), and Team Maryland (EHL)
About Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. is a privately held company formed by Murry Gunty and Blackstreet Capital Holdings, LLC in 2015 that seeks investments in sports and entertainment facilities, teams, and youth sports events. Black Bear arenas are clean, professionally managed, and offer world-class recreational programs. Black Bear focuses on ice arenas in metropolitan areas with compelling demographics, markets with a National Hockey League club presence and arenas with existing youth hockey clubs. Black Bear not only features the ability to acquire healthy and stable arenas, but also the expertise required to turn around mismanaged or under-performing facilities. The largest owner/operator of ice arenas in the U.S., Black Bear’s footprint totals 34 facilities across the United States with 64 sheets of indoor ice, four indoor turf fields, 31 youth hockey clubs, four hockey leagues (Atlantic Hockey Federation, Atlantic Girls Hockey Federation, Tier 1 Hockey Federation, and Foundry Adult Hockey, two tournament businesses, Defender Hockey Tournaments, and the National Girls Hockey League and four Junior “A” hockey franchises with membership in the United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League, United States Premier Hockey League NCDC and the Eastern Hockey League.
About Tom Berry, Executive Director of Biggby AAA Hockey – Tom Berry has been involved in Hockey since 2001 coaching from the mite house level to coaching and scouting in Junior Hockey. He has served as the Director of WMEHC now Biggby Coffee AAA Hockey since 2007. He has been a Director at MAHA for the past five years.
About Peggy Costello, Incoming Director of Hockey Operations – Peggy brings 15 years of experience in youth hockey operations, most recently serving as the Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association for the past 7 years. Peggy also currently serves as a District Director for the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association.
About Biggby Coffee Hockey Club – Biggby Coffee AAA Hockey which is the sole sponsor of WMEHC, a Tier 1 affiliate in Michigan, was started 15 years ago and has made its purpose to develop and advance Michigan players to the Highest level. Biggby AAA has placed over 100 boys in Girls in Junior and college hockey respectively making it one of the most successful youth hockey programs in Michigan. Our mission is to provide Elite youth boys and girls hockey players in West Michigan and the out-state communities the opportunity to maximize his/her potential. The West Michigan Elite Hockey Club will provide a competitive learning atmosphere where players, coaches, families, and organizations are committed to long-term development.
About Ann Arbor Ice Cube – Ann Arbor Ice Cube, owned by Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. is a multi-sheet facility located in Ann Arbor, Michigan also known as A2Ice3. The arena measures around 160,000 square feet and includes two NHL-sized ice rinks and one OLY-sized ice rink. The facility has multiple tenants as well as a concessions stand. The arena provides a home for various ice skating and hockey programs, regular public skating sessions, the Ann Arbor Adult Hockey League, and is the home arena for the Biggby Coffee Hockey Club, Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club, Perani’s Hockey World, Michigan Medicine MedSport, Advantage Strength & Conditioning, Huron HS Hockey Team, Pioneer HS Hockey Team, Saline HS Hockey Team, Father Gabriel Richard/Greenhills HS Hockey Team, EMU Club Hockey Team, and Wolverine Sports Club Speed Skating. For more, go to www.a2ice3.com.