PLYMOUTH - Now a little over 30-years-old, the Compuware Hockey program has built a sustained track record of excellence. No matter what level – Youth, Junior A, Ontario Hockey League, or National Hockey League – Peter Karmanos Jr.’s teams have won titles at all levels of the game.
Locally, the Compuware Youth Hockey [CYH] program has captured 33 state championships. Nationally, the youth program has won 14 titles. In addition, CYH won the prestigious Quebec International Tournament in 2006 and 2010 while finishing second in 2005 and 2007.
On a larger scale, Karmanos’ Ontario Hockey League teams – the Windsor Compuware Spitfires and Plymouth Whalers – have won OHL Championships in 1988, 1995 and 2007. Karmanos’ National Hockey League team – the Carolina Hurricanes – won the Stanley Cup in 2006.
Karmanos has been recognized locally and nationally for his contributions to hockey. In 1997, Karmanos received the National Hockey League’s Lester Patrick Award, given annually to persons who are recognized for “outstanding service to hockey in the United States.” In 2010, Karmanos won the Ontario Hockey League’s Bill Long Award for Distinguished Service. The award is presented in recognition of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the OHL. Karmanos was also elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. “I cannot say enough about what Mr. Karmanos has meant for the growth of hockey at all levels,” OHL Commissioner David Branch said. “He’s brought in and developed so many great people and has had a great influence in our league and other leagues. He provided us for the very first time as a league a team in the United States, which has been so beneficial for us and helped us grow the Ontario Hockey League.” In 2012 Mr. Karmanos won the USA Hockey Distinguished Achievement Award and in 2014 was inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame.
After Karmanos bought the Windsor Spitfires in 1984 and revitalized a struggling franchise that won the OHL Championship in 1988, the OHL awarded an expansion franchise to Karmanos for Detroit – the first OHL franchise based in the United States. The Plymouth Whalers made the OHL playoffs for 23 straight seasons – a current OHL record – and won championships in 1995 and 2007. In 2015, the Whalers were sold and relocated to Flint to become the Flint Firebirds.
Karmanos’ teams have touched the lives of countless individuals over 30 years. Compuware Youth Hockey players have moved through the ranks to earn college scholarships. Nearly 150 members of the Whalers or the CYH program have been drafted by the National Hockey League. In addition, several managers and coaches received their start with the Compuware Program and have become a success at higher levels – up to and including the National Hockey League. In 2014-15, 13 Compuware Youth Program alums played in the National Hockey League, including local players Torey Krug, Ryan Kesler, Andy Copp, and David Legwand.
Clearly, the Compuware hockey program has stood the test of time as a model franchise.