Niagara University has become the first institution of higher education to own and operate a New York Collegiate Baseball League team.
The Catholic and Vincentian university announced today that its College of Hospitality and Tourism Management will revitalize the Niagara Power baseball franchise, which ceased operating after the 2015 season.
The initiative is the rebranding of the franchise that played for nine seasons at Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagara Falls, which it will do once again when the NYCBL’s 2018 season commences next summer.
Dr. Patrick Tutka, Dr. Cheryl Rode and Michael Gentile, faculty members in NU’s highly acclaimed College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, will oversee day-to-day operations of the team. Their Niagara colleague, Dr. Joel Reynolds, will manage the team’s concessions, with assistance from staff who are certified by Safe-Serv. All staff members will be cross-trained, using NU as a base to make sure that they are ready to operate every part of the facility.
Niagara University students will be intricately involved in the team’s operation by participating in classes and internships that offer experience in sport management, marketing and ticket sales.
“It is our vision that this enterprise will provide students in our undergraduate and graduate programs a wealth of real-world, experiential learning opportunities, something we take great pride in offering at Niagara University,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., NU president. “In addition to the wonderful academic and practical experience that this program offers our students, we see it as another way for Niagara University to build bridges to the community. Bringing this community experience back to Niagara Falls will be extremely beneficial to the young people and families who live, work and play in Western New York.”
Cal Kern, the team’s former owner, will assist with marketing and serve as the face of the franchise.
Neal Turvey, operator of Niagara International Sports & Entertainment, is the stadium operator, and will be engaged in providing a first-class venue for teams to play in.
Originally established by Kern in 2007, the Niagara Power compiled a 168-215 over nine seasons, advancing to the playoffs in four of its final five years. Two former players – Jordan Schwartz, an NU alumnus, and Rohn Pierce – were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
To learn more about Niagara University, please visit www.niagara.edu.