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    CHRONO SPORTS

  • Friday, August 11, 2000

    Immediate Impact

    Toronto owner acquires another indoor squad

    By MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

      In an attempt to make an impact in the Greater Toronto Area, Neil Jamieson has made a purchase in Montreal.

     The majority owner of the Toronto ThunderHawks, an expansion team in the National Professional Soccer League, yesterday announced he has bought the Montreal Impact franchise from a group of Quebec businessmen led by Joey Saputo.

     Jamieson will not field a team in Montreal in the indoor league this season, so all of the Impact's players now belong to the ThunderHawks, who will be based out of the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.

     When the 2001-02 season begins, Jamieson hopes to have a team in Montreal playing home games at the Molson Centre.

     "(Having two franchises) provides us with exceptional opportunities," Jamieson said. "It gives us the ability to create marketing partnerships and to enhance player development and player opportunities."

     But Jamieson's dual ownership also creates a dilemma for the league's board of governors. The NPSL will have to find a way to prevent Jamieson from swapping resources and players at will between the two teams.

     "There are good questions that need to be reviewed by the league and they will be," Jamieson said. "I believe there are appropriate safety nets to ensure that there isn't any co-mingling of players and budgets."

     At the moment, though, Jamieson has his thoughts fixed firmly on the ThunderHawks, who yesterday named New Jersey native Gary Hindley as coach.

     Hindley, 53, has coached NPSL teams in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Buffalo and has a career record of 114-96.

     "This is really a unique expansion team having the players from Montreal," Hindley said. "I don't know if any expansion team has had this set of circumstances.

     "I was a bit leery when I first found out about the job because I know how much expansion teams usually have to suffer. Sometimes a first-year team can start 0-8, and that could happen here, but with the core of players we have I don't think that is the reality of this."

     Hindley will be joined by assistant coach Peter Pinizzotto, who also is coach of the Toronto Lynx A-League outdoor team.

     The ThunderHawks are expected to open their 40-game schedule Oct. 20 at the Hershey Centre with a game against either the Milwaukee Wave or the Cleveland Crunch.

     Jamieson has booked the Hershey Centre for 17 of the team's 20 home games. He is hoping to secure Copps Coliseum in Hamilton for a game against the Buffalo Blizzard and wants to play the other two home games at the Air Canada Centre.



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