By: Joey Battaino
This 2011-12 season was truly a comeback year for the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. They went from winning a league worst, six games in 2010-11 to winning 38 games and the North Division title. A lot of that success had to do with the hiring of former Port Huron Northern high school coach Bill Warren, mid-way through the 2010-11 season. Bill immediately got on the phone and traded the two stars Port Huron had for picks, tenders, and young players. One of them being James Rudi Pino, who ended up being the team's first ever college commit. The 2011-12 Falcons went all the way to the Robertson Cup, before being eliminated on the last day of round robin play. Truly a successful season.
Fast forward to April 25, when Bill Warren tells owner Maribeth Hayes that he has resigned as head coach of Port Huron. I knew there had to be more to this story, so I did a little digging. Apparently, Hayes had hired 61-year-old former coach of the Motor City Mechanics, Steve Shannon to take over the General Manger duties from Warren. When Warren caught wind of this, he immediately resigned. Saying, "The writing was on the wall" It sure was Bill.
Now lets take you back to 2004-05. The NHL was locked out, and hockey fans were looking for an entertaining product to fill their hockey void. Detroiters found it in the way of the United Hockey League. The UHL was a "AA" professional league known for its rough stuff. In Fraser, a Detroit team was founded, and named the Motor City Mechanics. In 2004-05, many NHL'ers laced em up for the Mechanics. Chris Chelios, Derian Hatcher, Bryan Smolinski, Sean Avery, and Mike Fountain just to name a few. Their coach that season was former Detroit Red Wing, Gary Unger. Gary was replaced mid-season in a some what shady move, by, you guessed it, retired Detroit cop Steve Shannon. Shannon had no coaching experience. In fact, many people knew him as a super fan, who followed guys like Chelios and Hatcher around after games. In a game against the Flint Generals on February 2nd, 2005, Shannon allegedly put a $200 bounty on the head of star forward Kevin Kerr, who at the time was the leading goal scorer in "AA" pro hockey history. Shannon was immediately suspended by UHL commissioner Richard Brosal for the remainder of the season and subsequently "black balling" him from hockey for good....So we thought.
Now it's 2012, and Shannon is back as the Vice President, GM, and head coach of the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. Note: this is his first hockey job since the bounty incident. One of the reasons for relieving Bill Warren of his GM duties was lack of college commitments. Maybe someone should tell Maribeth Hayes, it's hard to get schools looking at your players when you win six games all season. Just as hockey looked to be back in Port Huron, it's hit a brick wall once again.
This is my personal blog and does not reflect the views of the Michigan Warriors, the NAHL, or any of it's Franchises.