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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Curtale, Tornado Divorce

Well, here's the big (not-so) secret we've all been waiting for:
Curtale coached Tornado through first eight seasons.

Thu, Jun 07 - Frisco, Texas
Tony Curtale, Head Coach of the Texas Tornado hockey team of the North American Hockey League, will not be returning for the 2007-08 season.

Curtale began coaching the Tornado during their inaugural season in 1999, and later followed the team in 2003 when the Tornado was acquired by Bob and Kirby Schlegel and moved to their current home at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Frisco, Texas. During his eight years with the Tornado, Curtale led the team to three USA Hockey National Championships, Four NAHL Robertson Cup Championships, and seven consecutive NAHL Division Championships from 1999-2006.

"Tony Curtale has been instrumental in the on-ice success of the Tornado over the last eight years," said Tornado Owner Kirby Schlegel. "Tony’s hard work and dedication to this organization and its players was a key to bringing three National Championships to Frisco, and we continue to remain committed to the same winning tradition that has been established."
I will say this about the divorce (that's really what this is, IMHO)... Tony was a stand up guy to run the training camp this past weekend. By my best estimate, the trigger on his firing was pulled on May 25th, in which case he could have just walked out the door. But that would have left the team on short notice relatively rudderless for the camp, yet he covered it.

So who's the replacement? The name I first heard was Stars Midget AAA coach Dwight Mullins. We shall see.


Comments on "Curtale, Tornado Divorce"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:17 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

The next question is...where does Tony land?


Anonymous pat said ... (1:29 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

I am a former junior referee and I can tell you a story where Tony challenged not only me, but my dad who was in town visiting, to a fight after a game. It was a disgusting experience, let alone the fact that it was at the National Championships. He had this coming and I hope his disrespectful history in the game serves him right.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:44 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

Everyone loves a winner


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:48 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

I am not a big Curtale fan but you are quite right when you state he showed some class with the training camp. I am not so sure I would have done the same thing in his place.


Anonymous Pat said ... (1:55 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

Don't fool yourself, he has no class. Again.....I could tell you stories from behind the scenes.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:23 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

How about Craig Ludwig?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:25 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

I can imagine coaches coming out of the woodwork to be in that organization. The only downer, the travel!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:08 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

Mullins can't win the big game as a midget AAA coach how will he win at Juniors.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:10 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

If Doug Miller buys the Tornado (which it looks like it will happen)... It will for sure be Mullins as the head man for the Nado, with Ludwig as his assistant. which will (IMO) immediately give the Tornado one of the most qualified staffs in the league.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:53 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

I don't know for sure, but have always heard and assumed that the Tornado, while a great organization, were a financial drain.

Would it be safe to assume a potential buyer would also be "buying" a huge, annual deficit?

So a guy buys an NAHL franchise and loses money each year, then sells the franchise to someone who will come out of pocket with franchise money, in addition to coming out of pocket each year to operate at a deficit.

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I spend a lot of what I earn for those pesky things like food, shelter, heat, clothing, etc.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:36 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

If Miller is involved he might push for USHL team in Frisco. The quality of play is higher. Many of the USHL teams are quite profitable.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:17 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

What exactly got Curtale fired?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:06 AM, June 08, 2007) : 

What makes you think USHL will be more profitable? The cost is higher, the quality of play may be a little better, but not significantly. And the Tornado have been a proven winner for three straight years. How will fans react to a less-dominant product? USHL teams have made some money because they pack fans into buildings that give them a chance to turn a profit. USHL in Frisco vs. NAHL in Frisco will mean higher travel costs, and higher overhead, since Tier I requires its team to provide more than Tier II (skates, billet fees, etc..)

The Tornado already have the most expensive tickets in the league. How will going USHL be a benefit?

And a note to former ref Pat: Thanks for sharing your story. Tony's antics are well chronicled, as he has habitually played the role of "idiot", but the public at-large never sees it. Not much different from another certain coach in the NAHL who often calls others out to fight. I'm sure you know who.

Tony, like all of us, has his good points and bad points. All I'm saying is he shouldn't be glorified solely because he won, nor should he be crucified because he blacks out and thinks he's still a goon in Peoria.

Got off course there a little. Well, a lot. Oh well. How about that Fort Vancouver thing? *just kidding, Marc!*


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:43 AM, June 08, 2007) : 

You answered your own question on USHL, attendance is the key. Look at attendance at Frisco last three years, down 800 per game. The USHL would require another southern team as a travel partner, probably Oklahoma or Austin. Why would travel costs be higher, NAHL is spread all over country including Alaska. USHL is concentrated in midwest. USHL operating costs are higher, but product is better and league is stable with quality organizations. NAHL has a slow death spiral feel to it, look at attendance for most teams, less than 1000 per game, with frequent relocations of teams.


Blogger WCharles said ... (11:32 AM, June 08, 2007) : 

...and the USHL is expanding its geographical footprint, and adding the Tornado would not only further expand that footprint, but would require more teams closer to Frisco to keep those travel costs down (BTW, Frisco ain't in the Midwest, and I'm not sure Fargo really is either). All the USHL supporters have said that some of the reasons why the USHL is superior are 1) fewer teams and 2) smaller geographic footprint. If the current expansion continues, what then?

The NAHL does need to make some changes, but there is no "death spiral" yet. The quality of play has been improving and looks to keep doing so.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:03 PM, June 09, 2007) : 

Doug Miller has purchased part interest in Texas Tornado. Not sure, but probably majority interest. There will be common ownership with the Dallas Stars midget program. Mullins will be coach of Tornado. Duchesne, Ludwig, and a another coach will fill in the other three spots of the two teams. Duchesne and Ludwig together have over 32 years playing experience in NHL. The will stay in NAHL with the hopes the league will increase the standards and expectations of other owership groups as far as financial stability, attendance, and facilities. If not, in 1-3 years they will push to join USHL.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:19 AM, June 14, 2007) : 

I highly doubt Curtale got fired he is a stand up guy and really nice. He has a slight temper issue but all coaches do. I live in frisco about 5 minutes from the Stars Center I've been to many tornados games and I personally get the feeling it was a mutual decision for him to leave.
But why he is leaving is not as much intrest to me as where he is going?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:56 PM, June 17, 2007) : 

I will guarantee the worst season in tornado history next season. Curtale made that team what they were. bringing in someone else is gonna ruin all tradition of success


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:58 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

Trevor Converse has just signed to coach. Will be announced soon...


Blogger Marc Foster said ... (9:25 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

I just spoke with Converse, and the Tornado could not offer him enough money to move him from San Antonio.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:40 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

Thats funny I just spoke to Sherry bassin and he was taking the job!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:27 PM, February 09, 2008) : 

Is Tony Curtale coaching anywhere now? Is he going to be coaching the rumored future CHL team in Allen Texas?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:21 PM, April 22, 2009) : 

Tony is back with the Tornado and is already at work putting together the team. He has a camp starting 4/23/09.


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