Colonial Hockey League (1992-1997)
United Hockey League (1997-2007)
International Hockey League (2007-2008)
Born: 1992 – CoHL expansion franchise
Re-Branded: September 12, 2008 (Muskegon Lumberjacks)
Arena: L.C. Walker Arena (5,400)
Team Colors: Black, White, Teal & Purple
Owners: Tony Lisman, et al.
Colonial Cup Champions: 1999, 2002, 2004 & 2005
In the spring of 1992, the Western Michigan city of Muskegon lost its long-time hockey team when the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League moved to Cleveland. At the time, the IHL was a high-level league and the Lumberjacks had served as the top farm club of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. But the league was moving away from its Upper Midwest bus league roots and into an ambitious trans-continental expansion. Traditional IHL locales like Muskegon, Saginaw and Flint couldn’t afford to stay in the game as the league moved into 15,000-seater arenas in major league cities like Atlanta, Orlando and San Diego.
When the IHL left, a former Lumberjacks staffer named Tony Lisman quickly organized a new franchise in the cheaper, lower-profile Colonial Hockey League. Lisman’s Muskegon Fury entered the CoHL as an expansion franchise in the fall of 1992.
The Fury were remarkably successful on the ice. The team never posted a losing season in 16 years of play and won four Colonial Cup championships. Fury head coaches Bruce Boudreau (’92-’93), Steve Ludzik (’93-’95) and Bill Stewart (’95-’96) all went on to become NHL head men.
Long-time owner Tony Lisman sold the Fury to brother Stacey and Jeff Patulski in the summer of 2008 citing “burnout” and financial losses. The Patulski brothers’ first move was to drop the Fury moniker and re-branded the team under the old nostalgic “Muskegon Lumberjacks” identity.
The minor pro Lumberjacks folded less than two years later and the remains of the former Fury/’Jacks franchise were sold and relocated to Evansville, Indiana. A new junior amateur Lumberjacks team was immediately formed and entered in the United States Hockey League. This third iteration of the Muskegon Lumberjacks continues to play at L.C. Walker Arena today, but has no formal connection to the old Fury franchise.
==Muskegon Fury Programs on Fun While It Lasted==
|1996-97||11/2/1996||vs. Saginaw Lumber Kings||??||Program||Game Notes|
|1996-97||11/9/1996||vs. Madison Monsters||??||Program||Game Notes|
|1997-98||10/18/1997||vs. Winston-Salem Ice Hawks||??||Program||Game Notes|
Muskegon Fury vs. Fort Wayne Komets Colonial Cup Finals highlights, 2005.