Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shady Hockey Returns To Danbury

Danbury Ice Arena

The Danbury Ice Arena, the former home of the UHL's Danbury Trashers (and if you don't know what happened to them, you can click here and start reading), may be back in the pro hockey business this season-- albeit with a team in the semi-pro North Eastern Hockey League, a shady league with a dubious track record.

From today's Danbury News-Times:

Apparently there won't be much of a hiatus in professional hockey for Danbury.

The New England Stars were accepted into the North Eastern Hockey League on Tuesday and the franchise will begin playing in the 2006-07 season.

"It's expected to fill the hockey void for the people in the city of Danbury," said Stephan Seeger, the Stars' general manager.

Much of that void was created after the Danbury Trashers suspended operations in June after just two seasons in the United Hockey League.

Seeger, who declined to name the Stars' owners, said the management group is based out of the Stamford, Greenwich and New Canaan area.

Seeger said the group was looking to bring another professional hockey team to Connecticut and Danbury became the logical town after the Trashers ceased operations.

The Stars are scheduled to play a shortened 10-game home schedule at the Danbury Ice Arena for the 2006-07 season, which runs November through April. After the league re-evaluates the franchise at the end of the season, a full schedule of home games likely will be played for the 2007-08 season.

Some fans, however, are a little doubtful about the longevity of the newly formed four-team NEHL.

"A lot of the fans that I've talked to are very skeptical about this new league," said Danbury resident Peter Valenzon, who regularly attended Trashers games the past two seasons. "It seems a little unstable, but I'll come to check it out when they come here."

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the North Eastern Hockey League (which I suppose is just about everybody), the league was founded by would-be hockey player and entrepreneur Jim Cashman. Cashman, who has played in a handful of games-- literally seven or eight-- in various low-level minor pro leagues like the WPHL and CHL back in the 90's, not only runs the NEHL but is also the coach and team captain of one of its teams.

The NEHL has already sputtered through one financially troubled season, in '03-'04, then remained dormant in '04-'05 before attempting to regroup for the '05-'06 season as the Continental Professional Hockey League, to no avail (the season was cancelled after 6 games).

Although the league promotes itself as "A-level minor league hockey", it's really a semi-pro, "weekend only" league, featuring 16-man rosters stocked with marginal players. I followed the league for a little bit during their first season, mostly because the league had a team from Connecticut (in name only, it turned out), and the game scores were typically of the 13-9, 11-10, double-digit variety.

Here's how the NEHL describes itself on its own web site:

The North Eastern Hockey League is a high scoring, fast paced league using NHL rules with a few variations. In the first season, games averaged 15 goals per game between both teams. The NEHL is based on affordability for both the owner and the fans.

Players in the NEHL make between $30 and $100 per game depending on the team/market/owner. A great benefit to the NEHL for players is that they can work on their day-to-day jobs and still spend quality time with their family. With games on weekends only, players have plenty of time with family and their non-hockey jobs.

The "League Mission", as stated on their web site, is to provide "high quality entertainment that is very family affordable for the fans of each city. With ticket prices between $8 and $12 we feel this is very inexpensive and affordable to any family." With college and high school hockey available around the state, providing more-interesting hockey for much less, or even free, what's the point?

Here's how one commenter on the Danbury News-Times web site described the league (completely unverified, of course, but still funny):

This league is a joke, and the owner of the league is a crook. He has had 2 other leagues that folded, and owes money to former players. Let me ask you this: whatever happened to the Connecticut Cougars of this league? You might also ask him what happened to his Gulf Coast Hockey League.

One obvious question that comes to mind after reading the News-Times article is, why would the New England Stars GM decline to name who the team's owners are?

"We're here to provide fun, safe, affordable entertainment for the families in Danbury, and we hope that they'll come out with their kids to the games and support us."

"Who do you work for?"

"Um, I'd rather not say."

Good luck, Danbury.


Blogger Tapeleg said...

Why do they keep trying to put leagues into that building? It's an overhyped rec rink. Crap place to see a game. Not as bad as where the Motor City Mechanics played, but still. And it's not like attendance was any good for the Trashers anyways.

What did Danbury do to deserve such a sad hockey fate?

9/27/06, 11:16 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Yes-- Danbury Ice Arena is basically a public skating rink that the Trashers added seating to (illegally and after some arm-twisting in order to get the proper permits, of course).

Trasher fans were a pretty crazed and loyal bunch, though.

9/28/06, 11:52 AM

Blogger Brushback said...

Here's a folllow-up Danbury News-Times story, 9/28/06:

There are questions whether the NEHL will play in the 2007-08 season, given its history.

The NEHL, which has its headquarters in Fort Erie, Ontario, held its first season in 2003-04 but was unable to continue the next season because of financial issues. The league attempted to restart for the 2005-06 season as the Continental Professional Hockey League, but the schedule was canceled just six games into the season.

"There's things that happened," Cashman said. "A guy that got involved, he wasn't so honest, and he messed things up. We played one season and now we're kind of reforming."

"This is going to be a one-year deal," said Jim Cashman (about the Danbury/New England Stars). "After this year, if things go half as well as we expect them to, we'll be looking long-term. If they get 1,000 fans, then they will have a team there.

"This year is more of a get out there and let the people see what we have, let them know that it's really good hockey," Cashman said. "It's not quite the Trashers, but they won't notice a difference."

(Stars' GM) Seeger declined to reveal any potential players for the Stars but he said hopeful the team will be competitive immediately.

"The players, some will be recognized from playing in the area, including the Trashers," Seeger said. "They come from mostly local groups and a couple of them coached in the youth hockey organizations and have played before. One is anticipated to come from as far away as Canada."

Yeah, sounds great.

10/4/06, 8:28 PM

Blogger --J-- said...

We are getting a team here in Findlay, Ohio called the Findlay Freedom. The last team to come to town a couple of years ago assembled the players and never dropped a puck and skipped town on their ice time bills.

I work as a sports writer at the local newspaper and I'd be extremely surprised if this gets off the ground here.

10/17/06, 3:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to the Rangers game a few days ago, not only did they make a weak attempt to skate to loose pucks but the 6 dollar beers where warmer than the back of henry lunquist's neck (from the goal light) It was a waste of 150.00 dollars. If the New England Stars skate hard and make an effort I would rather watch them! Not to mention it is affordable for the whole family. I say check them out, and make a choice for yourself. Jr

10/27/06, 5:56 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

"If the New England Stars skate hard and make an effort I would rather watch them!"

Right back atcha, "Anon".

You can watch your local recreational pick-up league to see players who skate hard and make an effort-- only, unlike the NEHL, which will use mostly those same rec-league-type players, you won't have to pay 8 bucks for the privilege.

10/28/06, 6:31 PM

Anonymous grover1949 said...

I'm from findly and have watched the freedom work out. They look way bettet than the Wolfpack that was to be here a couple years sgo. They say they will play fast and rough - and that will put paying butts in the seats in findlay - grover

10/30/06, 12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a message board following this league that could use some local accounts with Opening Night being tomorrow.


I have my share of insight but we need more locals to get the discussion going.

11/4/06, 1:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, my bad.

11/4/06, 1:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We built a porta rinx with a cool little kit by this company in canada called Farley Boys, they sell these portarinx kits in the back of dozens of catalgues all over the place. We found the portable rinx system in a magazine on an airplane! Skymall had this portarink system I tracked down the company Farley in Canada, what a simple and easy to use product and inexpensive too, like 400 dollars US for a really good size rinx! Our community kids are on their way to become the next Wayne or Bobby Orr! Ice time is the secret not just ice time on indoor rinx. I encourage every community to buy a porta rinx system! The company NiceRinx in the Mid west makes a great portarinx product that uses brackets and wood so you don't need big boards and dont have to spend your time chasing the puck!

4/19/07, 1:42 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Ummmm.... really?

4/19/07, 3:40 PM

Anonymous Dave Black said...

Watch out there is a guy online claiming to have invented Porta rinx LOL

I made a post to a discussion about backyard ice rinx and before you know it there is this guy Damian Renzello claiming to have invented porta rinx

This Renzulli guy even invites you to check out his website whe you do you see that he buys the 200 dollar ice n go rinks and repackages them as his own claiming to have invented the name porta rinx What a Joke.

I made a nice post on a blog telling people about the porta rinx back yard ice rinx my family has been building since 1971, and this guy basically jumps all over my post claiming to have invented porta rinx. This dude even has a Web Warning on his website claiming that people are slandering his product. Sounds like anyone with that many problems buying a someone elses product and repackaging it as his own gets what hes askin for ripping off people. I ask you to look into building your own porta rinx.

Anyone looking for any help email me anyone in my family would be happy to help or at least point you to the real company you can buy a good quality porta rinx from and not get taken by this guy in Vermont buying 200 dollar porta rinx kits and reselling them under the name porta rinx for thousands of dollars.

Just wanted to warn everyone here about this issue since I saw someone posted something about a porta rinx here. Happy Skating Dave

9/27/07, 3:06 AM

Anonymous Damian Renzello said...

FYI - This guy is slandering my good name and business. Do not believe his hype, he is full of nothing but BS, check out my web site check out waybackmachine, my web site goes back almost 7 years, you can also check out my letters from customers as well as news articles from almost 11 years ago, here is a direct link to my web site,
I started from nothing 11 years ago it is a sin for this so called David Balck to be slandering my name and buisness, I have worked 10 going 11 hard years building my Porta-Rinx buisness, David you are the slime bag! My the good lord repay you 10 times fold, so let it be written so let the 10 time fold begin! To the rest of you have safe and fun ice skating season, and the holidays, PS Brushback when you gte a minute give me a call regarding these comments by David Black 802 479-1880 Thank you, Sincerely yours, Damian J. Renzello Inventor/Entrepreneur

11/21/07, 9:49 PM

Anonymous Damian Renzello said...

PS sorry about all the typos ... =) 1 finger typer ... Damian

11/21/07, 9:52 PM

Anonymous Grizzle said...

sorry to disturb the fine site Brush, but I gotta whistle a foul.. This David Black guy is a convicted cyber squatter known as Mike Nelson who is a slimey thief who extorts money from small business owners in order for not to cyber slam their products. Notice what he did to Damian, who is a 100% stand up guy. So- just beware what is what here, and skate on brother!

~ Grizzle

12/20/07, 10:31 AM

Anonymous ~Bull Sh-t slayer said...

Grizzle I know Mike Nelsen he is well written of all over the internet and given the kind of person he is he would NEVER go by any other name. I wonder where you would get such BullSh-t? Perhaps from Damian J. Renzello who I have also met and can tell you Renzello is completely FULL OF IT ... Renzello definitely did not invent or create the porta rinx in fact having known both Renzello and Nelson I can tell you Nelson created the entire business and the two of them had some sort of agreement.

$As for this cybersquatter thing Nelson has NEVER been convicted of anything. I have known both Damian and Michael I have done a little research on this thing especially given Michael's circumstances and for the sake of the kids. I can tell you Michael wrote thousands of pages of court documents in a lawsuit with Damain. In case you did not get a chance to read them, I am just now reading them. I will be working a little here and there to POST THEM to the Internet as they appear to be PUBLIC DOCUMENTS. Certainly they are not the type of documents Damian would want in all the search engines. But since Michael doesn't know what Damian and whoever you are up to ... and obviously Michael can't get the truth out there ... I think I will take some time to make sure the search engines pickup on the thousands of pages of Public Court Documents on the subject...those documents should prove without any doubt that: 1) Michael has NEVER been convicted of anything 2) Michael is NOT a cybersquatter 3) Damian probably did committ Federal Fraud as numerous articles referece 4) Michael has never gone by any other name

You might also learn about a number of other things about Damian that would have any intelligent person thinking twice before they give Damian Renzello any money. I certainly think people will want to keep their children safe and away from Damian J. Renzello when they read all the Federal Court Papers Don't you think children's safety should come first?

I don't think his kids should read this BS later in life, certainly if Mike recovers and sees this he will file a LAWSUIT against you and Damian Renzello as it is my understanding Renzello agreed in Federal Court to not harass Michael or his family. In fact the Federal Court papers discuss "death threats", mafia ties, even an alleged MURDER!

I just gotta whistle a foul here, and set the record a little more on track, there is a lot of things about Damian Renzello that should be brought way out into the open and public.

When I have some more time I will go through the rest of the internet and find any other harassing posts you have made and set the record straight there too and start linking to the corut documents for proof until then look here and learn about Renzello.

Sincerely Yours,

Bull Sh-t Slayer

1/24/08, 11:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all of you who doesn't get it ... This last comment by the B-s'r is by Mike speaking from a third party perspective ... for all of you who read this slander ... that this guy continues to say ... check out my bambini revolution that picture is of me test driving it in my driveway ... so what did I make that up too .. FYI for all of you who read this please do not be set back by this guys comments ... he has been harrassing me for 5 years now ... for anybody that knows about harrassment on line and has respect for a small time inventor entrepreneur .. would you please call me and let me know what I can legaly do to stop this guy ... respectfully yours ... Damian J. Renzello my web site is Thanks again ...

2/2/08, 5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homemade is the key term here this guy Renzello scammed my husband and I and his port rinx product is horrible. We filed a complaint in Vermont and found many of the news articles about Renzello are all TRUE! The Vermont Attorney General's Office confirmed they had to file suit against him in the past for Consumer Fraud and Damian Renzello had to admit consumer fraud!
This is not the first trouble Damian J. Renzello has run into with charges made
against him of unjust enrichment and fraud. Just a few years ago the company My
Buddy Inc. filed suit against Renzello in Vermont Superior Court charging him with
unjust enrichment and theft of intellectual property, the case was apparently
settled with Renzello signing over numerous pieces of intellectual property to My
Buddy Inc.

A few years prior to the lawsuit filed by My Buddy Inc. against Renzello and Damian
J. Products for unjust enrichment; Renzello was at the center of an investigation
and actions taken against him by the Vermont Attorney General; for “violation of the
Consumer Fraud Act”, according to reports made by the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus
newspaper. Stemming from Renzello’s representations of a business enterprise which
according to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office: “his business name and his logo
deceived consumers” into thinking he (renzelo) was affiliated with the State.

Debra L. Leahy, Assistant Vermont Attorney General speared headed the action
stating: “My concerns are that he’s using the name of the state.” Leahy went on to
comment: “It implies some kind of connection and there isn’t any. In our opinion,
that was a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act.”, stated Leahy who is believed
daughter of Vermont US Senator and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, who
nominated presiding Judge Garvan Murtha. Deputy Secretary of State for the State of
Vermont said “Renzello was trying to capitalize on an appearance of affiliation with
the state.” According to the Times. “He was clearly trading on the State of Vermont
name” stated Bristow. Renzello attempted to sue the State of Vermont the suit was
immediately dismissed. Renzello was forced to admit consumer fraud and his
fraudulent business operations ceased.

We hope no other persons will be deFRAUDED by this Crook Renzello and his version of the porta rinx We think your better off buy a Nice Rinx

8/24/09, 9:50 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

I don't know -- should I delete all these comments?

8/26/09, 7:22 PM


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