Veteran of 'family fun' business to run AHL team
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the Islanders, have named Howard Saffan president. Saffan, 45, will oversee all aspects of the operation of the team with a focus on community involvement and creating more of a family-friendly environment.
"Sound Tigers hockey will be more of a fun, interactive and exciting product that can be shared by everyone in the region," says Saffan. "From families and individuals to community groups and businesses, we will reach out to everyone and invite them to be part of our team."
"Howard is the perfect leader to push the Sound Tigers ahead," said Islanders general manager Mike Milbury. "He knows the region, he's community-minded, he loves hockey and he has been successful at every venture he has led."
Saffan joins the Sound Tigers from within the Islanders family having partnered with Charles B. Wang, who owns both teams, at Islanders IceWorks in Syosset. He also brings strong ties to the business of sports and recreation, as well as many of the communities throughout the Sound Tigers' home region of Southwestern Connecticut.
Since 1999, Saffan has owned and operated the SportsCenter of Connecticut in Shelton, a recreational venue that features mini-golf and a driving range, fitness and rehabilitation facilities, laser tag and the world's only double-decker skating rinks. The Rinks at Shelton offers year-round skating and is the official practice facility of the Sound Tigers. The SportsCenter overlooks the Housatonic River, which links Fairfield and New Haven Counties and the Naugatuck Valley.
Since 1997, Saffan has also served as president of Bishop Design and Development, a Weston-based real estate development company. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1981 and Brooklyn Law School in 1984.
With the Sound Tigers celebrating their fifth anniversary in Bridgeport as the top affiliate of the Islanders in 2005-06, and the big club recently celebrating the 25th anniversary of its four-year reign as Stanley Cup Champion, Saffan will also emphasize the close relationship of the two teams.
"The Islanders tradition will be carried through to the Sound Tigers and will be recognized by the fact that a significant portion of the team that takes the ice on Long Island this fall will be comprised mainly of players, coaches and staff who have spent some time in Bridgeport," says Saffan.
Saffan was born in The Bronx, raised on Long Island and currently lives in Weston with his wife Judy and their three sons; Noah, Ethan and Justin; and daughter, Gabrielle.
Sound Tigers 2005-06 season tickets are on-sale now at savings of up to 25% off box-office costs with most seats available at lower prices than last year. Information regarding Sound Tigers tickets is available by calling 203-334-GOAL or logging on to www.soundtigers.com.
The Sound Tigers are also committed to the community on a year-round basis, so groups, organizations, companies, etc. that are interested in having a member of the team appear at an event are invited to call 203-334-GOAL or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on Howard Saffan's appointment as President of the Sound Tigers, read Mike Fornabaio's article in today's Connecticut Post here.