SHREWSBURY, N.J.- On Wednesday, July 19, the ECHL announced the Transfer of Controlling Interest in the Iowa Heartlanders from Deacon Sports and Entertainment to Heartlanders Hockey, LLC.
Heartlanders Hockey, LLC, is an entity controlled by Michael Devlin, who may be familiar to Iowans as the owner of the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League and mind behind the 3,400-Seat Buccaneer Arena in Urbandale, Iowa.
While Deacon Sports and Entertainment has relinquished control of the Iowa Heartlanders, they still maintain majority control in the Trois Rivières Lions and Newfoundland Growlers, keeping their control over ECHL’s two Canada-based teams.
Buzz about Devlin’s acquisition of Controlling Interest kept the fans in Xtream Arena optimistic for the future following a disappointing 2022-23 season, In which the team took home 10 fewer points than their 2021-22 inaugural season.
The 2023-24 season is one that Iowa’s fans should be impatiently waiting for. Odeen Tufto, a 26-year-old Center who recorded 24 assists with the Orlando Solar Bears in 2021-22, is returning to the United States after splitting last season between the Atlanta Gladiators and Krefeld Pinguine of the DEL2. The Heartlanders have also returned fan-favorite and potential captain Yuki Miura and players such as Tanner MacMaster, Kevin McKernan, and Nolan Orzeck.