UFHL Welcomes Gumpa Group Among Newest Franchise Owners
UFHL Welcomes Gumpa Group Among Newest Franchise Owners; Conte & Co. Purchase Sea Bass
Rob Conte went down a rabbit hole and came out with a Sea Bass — reeling in the Chilean Sea Bass as the latest franchise sale for the Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League. Conte and his Toronto-based partners, Paul Ceccomancini and Nelson Martins, formed the Gumpa Sports & Entertainment (GSE) group that purchased the Chilean Sea Bass from Hernan Salas for $1,500 USD on Christmas Day. They also purchased a UFAHL franchise in that recent auction and founded a scouting service as well to go all-in on the UFF Sports platform as it exists today. “For me, it could have all started last summer with the UFHL. I received a DM on Twitter asking if I had interest in joining a new revolutionary fantasy hockey experience. The timing just wasn’t right, I had a lot going on and couldn’t give it the consideration it required,” said Conte, a 46-year-old letter carrier by day and realtor by night (and weekends). “Fast forward to late November 2020, and after seeing new franchises unveiling logos and jerseys, and franchises selling to new owners, I clicked a link that brought me to the Two Minute Tuesday clip (on YouTube), and from there I went down a rabbit hole of UFHL content,” Conte continued. “I reached out for information and sent a DM to Donny (Defenders owner) on Twitter, who invited me to the Telegram chat. Everyone was so nice and willing to answer whatever questions I had, and I just knew I wanted to become part of the group. I was hooked! “I spoke with my very close friends about it, and we decided the newly launched UFAHL was a great way to get involved, and were lucky to be part of the inaugural franchise auction. We started sending messages to existing UFHL franchises and asking if they would consider selling, and we are super ecstatic to have come to an agreement with Hernan of the Chilean Sea Bass. Our group knew we needed to cover all our bases, so we registered our scouting service. It’s official, we have arrived!”
Indeed, and they came prepared — with plans already in place to rebrand as the Godfathers in the UFHL, to go along with the Enforcers in the UFAHL and the Wise Guys Prospects scouting service. It’s a neat mafia theme, but it’s more than that too. “Gumpa is a nickname we’ve had for each other for years. It’s a play on Godfather. In real life, we’re Godfathers to each other’s kids,” said Martins, also 46 and a self-employed investor. “We are three longtime friends looking for a new challenge, intrigued by the new philosophy and entity that was created in the UFFS,” added Ceccomancini, a 44-year-old operations manager. “The ability to create and control a pipeline to your pro franchise is the draw and ultimate goal. Our current roster will be an obvious challenge, but we are confident in our abilities to build a perennial contender.” That work began immediately, with Wise Guys signing Lukas Rousek and Joel Teasdale as their first two prospects from the Open Market. They also own the rights to T.J. Tynan as their franchise player for the UFAHL Enforcers. Now that the cat is out of the bag, Conte will get his hands on the UFHL Godfathers as the franchise owner and general manager. “I love the idea of building a team, and having to consider contracts and addressing needs, with an eye to scouting up-and-coming talent to feed the roster and protected list,” said Conte. “With our group having acquired franchises in the UFHL and UFAHL as well as starting a scouting service, we feel we are able to work together to scout talent, and use the UFAHL franchise to hopefully feed into the big league roster, and handle it all in house.” Ceccomancini will serve as Conte’s right-hand man with the title of assistant GM for the Godfathers, while also overseeing the Enforcers as GM for their UFAHL franchise. Martins will head up Wise Guys Prospects as director of player development and will also contribute in an assistant GM capacity. “I am very intrigued by the scouting and development of a prospect through the system all the way to the pro game — be it UFAHL or the UFHL,” said Martins. “We will all have input on the day-to-day activities of our entire operation,” assured Conte. That includes the branding aspects, with the unveiling of their tentative logos and creation of their Twitter account (@GodfathersHc). Colour schemes and jersey designs will soon follow.