In a stunning move that came out of nowhere and that we had absolutely no clue about until it was just announced on the Carolina Thunderbirds website, the Federal Hockey League was shaken to its core Wednesday afternoon as it was announced that Carolina GM Scott Brand has stepped down from his position.
The Thunderbirds also announced that Jimmy Milliken, who has had a had in helping the FHL expand its footprint, particularly with southern markets, has been announced as Brand’s replacement for the position.
The move is obviously a huge loss for the Carolina franchise, which Brand helped turn into the model FHL team during his two years there, bringing in over 163,000 fans in that time, an average of 2,471 fans per game over 66 home games during his tenure, an unheard of number in the FHL prior to Carolina’s revival, and a run that saw more than a dozen sellouts over the two seasons.
While we don’t know what the future ultimately holds in Carolina, it’s safe to say that Brand and Co. during his time have built a strong fanbase for the Thunderbirds that should continue to come out and support the team, regardless of who is in charge. We have spoken with Milliken on a number of occasions, and he seems like a dedicated and passionate guy who will do everything he can to continue the success and work that has made Carolina what it is over its first two seasons.
According to the release on Carolina’s site, “Milliken comes to the Thunderbirds organization with years of entertainment experience including a successful music career as the Co-Owner and Vice President of a Nashville-based record label and management group. His sports experience is deep including serving as an assistant GM for two years in the SPHL and working with the FHL’s expansion committee for the last three years.”
Bus League Hockey will have more on this story as it develops, and will do our best to reach out to both Brand and Milliken for comments on the moves.