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Goldsboro GM gets fired; IFHLer Lee Mantz gets hired :: The Amazing Fantasy Hockey League

Goldsboro GM gets fired; IFHLer Lee Mantz gets hired


Goldsboro GM gets fired; IFHLer Lee Mantz gets hired

Trend of hiring new GMs from the IFHL continues

July 5th, 2012

Lee Mantz had to wait quite a while for his chance to be a GM in the AFHL. The AFHL Commissioner, Anthony Furino, provided that opportunity.

Mantz, who spent this past season as a GM in the IFHL, was announced as the new Goldsboro Rebels GM on Thursday. He replaces Matt Dwyer, who was hired almost halfway through last season, as the new leader of a franchise that is starved for success.

A couple of days ago, Dwyer tried to sign Damien Brunner, a highly sought after free agent, about 48 hours after Brunner had already been signed by the Victoria Vipers. Daryn Beckman, GM of the Buffalo Phantoms, thought the attempted signing was an omen and probably a factor in Furino’s decision to replace Dwyer.

“He didn’t even check to see if the guy [Brunner] was already signed by another AFHL team,” Beckman told Furino in a text message. “Everybody in this league knows you have to check and see if the player is already owned before you try and sign him. Dwyer’s been in this league for almost a year now, there should be no excuses.”

A couple of weeks ago, Furino was quoted for saying a good GM in the AFHL is a good GM because his passion, desire, and personality is almost always on display. He used Buffalo GM Daryn Beckman as an example. For three years, Beckman has shown his passion, desire, and personality on a daily basis. Beckman checks the league message boards several times per day and posts messages on the message board at least once almost every day. He’s a guy who doesn’t just like being in the AFHL, he LOVES being in the AFHL.

“At the end of the day, Matt just didn’t show me enough passion, desire, and personality,” said Furino. “I know he has the potential so I have offered him a franchise in the IFHL. Maybe he will redeem himself down there and eventually make a return to the AFHL. Fantasy hockey aside, Matt Dwyer is a really good man and I wish him all of the best.”


While the AFHL Commissioner searched for GM Dwyer’s replacement, the usual handful of seasoned candidates was available.

Instead of scouring the internet for significant experience or big-name recognition, though, the Commissioner turned to the AFHL’s head coach factory: the IFHL.

Lee Mantz takes over a team that’s headlined by several talented players such as Gabriel Landeskog, Jeff Skinner, and Erik Johnson.

Lee Mantz is the latest coach to turn an IFHL job into the ultimate promotion, wearing a suit and standing behind the bench in supervision of an AFHL team. After the Commissioner fired Dwyer, he could have gone the other way and picked the most impressive candidate at the top of the “waiting list”.

But the Commissioner wasn’t deterred. He went right back to the well – fantasy hockey’s less expensive fountain of youth, essentially – and chose Mantz from the AFHL’s sister league. Mantz coached the Kitchener Panthers in the IFHL last season and impressed the front office by the way he displayed his passion, desire, and personality on a daily basis.

“The simple truth is I wasn’t certain that he could be a coach/GM in the AFHL from when he initially inquired a year and a half ago,” Commissioner Furino said. “So I started him in the IFHL last season in order to be certain that he could be a coach/GM in the AFHL.”

Perhaps the most prime example of the league’s unofficial apprenticeship program is in Detroit (Icemen), where Paul Kiely was summoned from the IFHL at midseason following the firing of Rich Mauch.

“I’m not sure what the main reason is for why he chose me, but I know when he started talking to me about it, I was all for it,” said Kiely.

The consensus is that the work and preparation required to do the job in the IFHL is the perfect foundation for the same duty in the AFHL and it has become obvious that strong communication skills are a must in this league.

“When the Commissioner made the change and hired me for the job in Detroit, it was an easy transition because I knew how to talk with everybody, I knew how to make transactions, I knew how to do everything right away,” said Kiely. “That may be why it’s becoming a trend in the AFHL because coaches in the IFHL know how everything works in the AFHL.”

So just like the minor leagues are a feeder system of up-and-coming players, it can serve as the same source of new coaches/GMs.

“The Commissioner also has a knowledge of you, so when the Commissioner has the knowledge of you, it’s usually a good thing, right? He knows what you’re all about. He’s not guessing,” Kiely said.

Kiely told the media he was happy to be the “trail blazer” even if he didn’t realize it at the time.

“I think the Commissioner looks at how the GM communicates with the league on a daily basis. Do you post messages on the message board? Do you make transactions often? Do you do all the things to make your team better? Do you show your passion, desire, and personality?” Kiely said. “I think as this happens more often, the Commissioner will hire coaches from the IFHL to fit teams in the AFHL. That IFHL league is watched an awful lot.”

The Commissioner believes the skills that Lee Mantz has developed in the IFHL will be critical to take with him as he transitions into the AFHL.

“I’m expecting him to exude an aura of confidence and poise, carrying himself not with arrogance but as if he’s been on an AFHL bench since it first began in 2009,” said Furino. “Though he spent just one season in the IFHL last year, the hands-on training he found there will be invaluable.”

“In the end, I’m the one that’s got to come up with the answer,” Mantz said at a press conference on Thursday morning. “I’m a big believer in communicating with the league and showing my passion on a regular basis. As far as the pressures I face to be a winning coach/GM, when the buck stops with me, it’s how I deal with adversity, how I’m going to go in and deal with making a bad trade, and not being afraid to make another, or how I’m going to deal with being on a losing streak. I’m just going to be myself and do the best that I can do.”

Categories : afhl


  1. Buffalo GM Daryn Beckman says:

    Matt good luck in life pal, some things are more important that fantasy hockey but this really is the NHL of the fantasy hockey world in my opinion. Need a lot of time to strive in this league. A great way to measure activity in these leagues is the number of posts each GM has made. Yuku keeps track and every time you post something your tally goes up. I do love this league and I like being able to chat with a GM whenever as I take full advantage of YIM on my phone at all times. If my activity got you the boot i apologize but I think its best for the league and I know LEE will do a great job. Take care Matt sorry things didnt work out. Tony thanks for the shout out as I will forever be a lifelong member of this league. Go Phantoms!

  2. Washington GM Rick Charron says:

    it is sad to see a fellow gm go, but sometimes it is for the better of the league and we do want regular participation…i would like to welcome Lee to the league! we have a good bunch of guys here, and get ready to be peppered like a steak with trade offers! lol cheers

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