On Wednesday, May 23, the 2006-07 Central Hockey League season ended when the Colorado Eagles claimed the Ray Miron Presidents Cup. Seven days after the CHL playoffs came to an end, the Jackalopes made a statement that they full intend to be involved in those playoffs next time around; a big statement. The Jacks announced Tuesday the signing of all-star defenseman Mario Joly for the 2007-08 CHL season.
The 6-4, 240-pound, 25-year-old from Gatineau, Quebec, brings a major presence to the Jacks blue-line and to the hockey club overall. The club also announced the promotion of long time employee Harold Fuller to General Manager.
Mario Joly is the type of player we have been targeting to add this off-season, said team co-owner Rick Gasser. He will be a huge asset to our team. We are extremely excited to bring a player of Marios caliber and reputation to the Jackalopes. Although he spent most of the 2006-07 season with the Pensacola Ice Pilots of the East Coast Hockey (ECHL), Joly is no stranger to the CHL. He was an all-star with Tulsa in the 2004-05 season, his first of two with the Oilers.
In his all-star season with Tulsa, Joly scored 42 points (10 + 32) with 187 penalty minutes (PIM) in 48 games. The following season, his production was even better, scoring 54 points (13 + 41) in 61 games with 191 PIM. Last season in Pensacola, he had 19 points (2 + 17) and 101 PIM in 26 games for the Ice pilots. The franchise struggled, both on and off the ice, and Mario elected to finish the season with the St. Jean Chiefs of the Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey.
Jolys career includes four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he played for the Hull Olympiques (1998-2001) and the Quebec Ramparts (2001-02). In his QMJHL career (247 games), he scored 113 points (20 + 83) with 1,193 PIM in 247 games.
At the end of the 2002 season, he gained his first pro experience, appearing briefly with the Quad City Mallards in the United Hockey League (UHL) playoffs. He played two seasons of senior hockey (2002-04) for the Laval Chiefs, and also played 12 games with the UHL Flint Generals during the 2003-04 season. Mario then signed with Tulsa, playing two season with the CHL Oilers, including his all-star appearance. His impressive résumé and reputation add up to a player who can make an impact, figuratively and literally.
Mario is a great tactical player who is also tough as nails, Gasser said. His size, skill and physical play will upgrade our blue line and give us the kind of presence were looking for.
Fuller Named General Manager
When he was 10 years old, Harold Fuller was watching a New York Yankees game on television. He told his Dad hed like to grow up to be a big league ballplayer. His Dad, showing infinite wisdom, suggested that becoming a Major Leaguer was something of a long shot. About that time, the TV announcer mentioned the Yankees general manager. Making a quick change in career goals, young Harold replied okay, then Ill be a general manager.
Today, he made that wish come true, named general manager of the Odessa Jackalopes Hockey Club.
This really is a dream come true, Fuller said. It also fulfills a promise I made to my Dad, and that makes it even more special. I know this will be a challenge, but its one I look forward to. We have the greatest fans in the CHL, and well do everything we can to reward their dedication. To be part of a new era in Jackalopes hockey is something very special.
Now in his 11th year with the Jackalopes franchise, Fuller came to West Texas in 1992 as part of the (then) Midland Angels staff as ticket manager. In 1997, the franchise became a two-sport business with the inception of the Jackalopes, meaning Fuller has been with the club since day one. Since the inception of the Jacks, Fuller has received several nominations for the Western Professional Hockey League and Central Hockey Leagues corporate sales representative of the year awards. He was named winner of the CHLs Soul of Service award in 2002-03, recognizing excellence in customer service.
His role with the franchise (both hockey and baseball) has continually expanded, culminating in his being name assistant general manager / corporate sales in 2001. The transition to general manager seems a logical next step.
Taking the step (to become a GM) is something Ive aspired to, and Im grateful to both the RockHounds and the Jackalopes for the opportunity. The last 16 years have been a tremendous learning experience. The two people Ive learned the most from in my life were my Dad and Monty (Hoppel, RockHounds general manager). Monty has passed along so much to me on how to be an effective general manager. The last 16 years have prepared me well for this opportunity.
Fuller will continue his corporate sales duties with the RockHounds, while working with Jackalopes co-owners Rick Gasser and Bill and Tracey Nyborg as the teams GM.
Harold brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position, Gasser said. Hes been a vital part of Jackalopes hockey since we first dropped the puck. Bill, Tracey and I have been greatly impressed with his work and we think hes an ideal choice to become the Jackalopes general manager as we enter a new era for the hockey club.
The Angelica, New York native graduated from Houghton (NY) College in 1991 with a degree in sports management. During his tenure with the RockHounds and Jacks, Harold has been an active member of the Midland West Rotary Club. He currently serves as the groups director of public relations, and was named the Paul Harris Fellow of the Year in 2002-03.
Along with the announcement of Harold Fullers appointment to general manager, the Jackalopes today held ground-breaking ceremonies for the clubs new offices at Ector County Coliseum. The new offices, along with improvements to the arena (the Coliseums new video board was the most visible addition), are aimed at giving the Jacks more visibility in the community, and to provide better customer service at the Coliseum.