by Marie Sly


PORT HURON, Mich., October 3, 2019 The Port Huron Yeti, a National Roller Hockey League (NRHL) franchise, has announced the signing of veteran ice and roller hockey coach and player, Jeff Blum as their first-ever General Manager.  Kicking off the season in May, 2020, the Yeti will be bringing professional roller hockey to the Port Huron area and skating out of McMorren Arena.

Blum, who grew up in the Metro Detroit area, played collegiate hockey at University of Illinois at Chicago before embarking on a hockey career that saw him climb the ladder all the way to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.  He also spent three seasons with his now NRHL rival, the St. Louis Vipers.

“I’ve been in Port Huron for over twenty years now and when Bobby (Bob Clouston, NRHL Commissioner and Co-Founder) approached me, I started getting excited,” said Blum.  “Roller has always been a passion, growing the game in Port Huron excites me, and I see this as an opportunity for something to grow as there is a huge need for pro roller hockey from both a player and a fan perspective – this has major potential and it’s time for this long wait to be over.”

Blum knows that game day has to be a major event – for both the players and the fans.  “When we played in Port Huron, we were treated just like the Red Wings when it came to fan interaction,” said Blum.  “A great example is one year, right after Christmas, we had a complete sellout and the passion and excitement of the fans showed through and basically gave us an extra man on the ice – I’ll never forget how that felt, none of us who were playing that night will ever forget that.”  Blum realizes that fans have a finite amount of entertainment dollars and the Yeti need to give those fans a reason to want to spend those dollars there.

“There is nobody better in this world to lead the Port Huron Yeti into the 2020 season with the NRHL,” said Clouston.  “When we started discussing our vision and plan for Port Huron, Blum’s name was consistently at the top of our list – I’ve known him for decades and he’s extremely talented as a leader and as a player and has unbelievable ties to the Port Huron hockey community.”

When asked about going head to head against his former team, the St. Louis Vipers and their coach, Perry Turnbull, Blum had to laugh.  “I played for Perry after college and he absolutely made the experience what it was for me,” noted Blum.  “I played there for three years, got married the year they won the RHI championship and the guys called me from the dressing room, asking me if I would send pizza,” said Blum, laughing.  

The following fall, Turnbull tracked Blum down on vacation in Hilton Head and asked him to come back, then he did the same next year, this time with the call coming while Blum was playing roller at Joe Dumars, with his response being, “when do you want me there?”

“The NRHL is setting themselves apart from the predecessors – they are starting small, have a great, solid plan, knowing it doesn’t have to happen overnight,” noted Blum.  “Knowing Perry is involved, made this decision so much easier.”

Registration is open for the NRHL Combines, however space is becoming increasingly limited.  The first is being held November 1-3, 2019 at the Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in the Metro Detroit area, the second will be December 27-29 in Saint Louis, Missouri.  

The Combines will consist of one practice with their designated team, run by members of the NRHL team coaching staff, including with four games scouted by every head coach and various staff members from across the League as well as professional trainers on site to test and evaluate every player.  Along with all of that, the NRHL will have representatives on site from Alkali Verbero Skates to fit and measure for the player’s preferred boot, representatives from glove, helmet and other various equipment manufacturers so that when a player is named to a roster, all of their equipment will be ready and waiting for them when they walk into their new roller hockey home.  Each player will receive, among other things, a limited-edition custom NRHL insulated tumbler from Treblig Designs to commemorate their participation in the first-ever NRHL Combines.

The National Roller Hockey League is the only professional inline hockey league in North America and has teams in Detroit, St. Louis, Port Huron, and Grand Rapids.  For more information or to register for the 2019 NRHL Combines, visit our website at www.thenationalrollerhockeyleague.com and find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.