UPDATE @ 8:45 AM ON FRIDAY, ARPIL 2, 2021:
JAMESTOWN – A report that the Jamestown Rebels hockey team was relocating to Virginia appears to be an ‘April Fools’ joke by the team’s owner, hockey league and independent Junior Hockey news site.
Stephen Heisler, with JuniorHockey.com, first reported on Thursday that the North American Hockey League announced the team is rebranding as the Roanoke Rebels and were moving to Roanoke, Virginia for the upcoming 2021-22 season.
The story, only hours later, was revised and marked as an April Fool’s prank.
In the revision, Heisler thanked the team’s owner Ken Dennis, the league’s President Mark Frankenfeld and other staff for playing along with the joke.
However, not everyone was laughing when they heard the ‘news.’ A Jamestown area family who has invested time and money in the sport by hosting players in their home tells WNY News Now they were disappointed by the gag.
JuniorHockey.com has a reputation as a trusted source for Junior Hockey news nationwide with outlets like ESPN and The New York Times crediting their reporting. WNY News Now has done the same in the past.
ORIGINAL @ 4:10 PM ON THURSDAY, ARPIL 1, 2021:
JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Rebels hockey team is leaving the area.
According to JuniorHockey.com, the North American Hockey League announced on Thursday the team is rebranding as the Roanoke Rebels and are moving to Roanoke, Virginia for the upcoming 2021-22 season.
The Rebels, who called Jamestown’s Northwest Arena home, did not see any time on the ice last year due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“While we enjoyed our stay in Jamestown we felt that, in order to grow awareness of the team and junior hockey itself, it was necessary to find a new home and Roanoke simply made sense,” said team owner Ken Dennis in a statement. “We are now truly at home in Roanoke.”
The team migrated from Philadelphia to Jamestown in 2018, replacing the Southern Tier Xpress.