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Mr Ricochet

A Minnesota USHL Entry?

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Mr Ricochet

This guy/girl could use a follow.

 

 

We have every level of hockey in Minnesota beside a USHL team!! Bring #USHL team in the Land of 10,000 lakes! #MNUSHLTeam #stateofhockey

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  1. 8Aq3nJOc_bigger.jpg Minnesota USHL Team @MNUSHLTeam 22h22 hours ago
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    Hey fans of the #StateofHockey We are trying to gain support to bring a #USHL team to MN and we NEED YOUR HELP!! Follow us to show support!

    0 replies 18 retweets 19 likes

 

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minor life

Might happen sooner than they think.

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TheShow

Ahhhhhh yes, a team kids will continue to not strive to play for, even with it in their backyard so they can instead join the "All-Hair Team" playing against scrubby second tier competition because their parents and HS coaches have brainwashed them.

 

Can't wait!

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minor life

Rochester MN? I wonder if there is a popular former NHL player working with youth hockey that would get involved? I wonder if another Rochester team might not have a lease for next year?

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kwey24

I'm fairly positive every player in Minnesota is aware that the NAHL and USHL are superior leagues in terms of talent than Minnesota high school and the NA3HL is a step up unless you play in the Lake Conference (Edina, Eden Prairie, Wayzata, etc.). The North Iowa Bulls cut kids who were top scorers on their high school teams in Minnesota with some regularity. The NA3HL is solid Tier III junior hockey.

 

The question is, really, should you leave high school to play in the USHL or NAHL? Unless you're going to be a top-six forward in the USHL, top four defenseman, or a goalie at least splitting time, I'd say no. Stay back in high school, play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, play high school, and live a normal, well-rounded life. It makes little little sense to leave high school to go to the NAHL, NA3HL, or USPHL Midwest. There's no need to rush the process. Be dominant player in high school, get those touches, play on the power play and the penalty kill, work on your offensive creativity. Leaving early for the USHL is all that makes sense, because if you're going to be within the areas I mention above as a high-schooler, you're in the running to be drafted in the NHL Entry Draft. No one under the age of 18 should be playing in the USHL as a depth player (unless money is suddenly an issue for your family and playing for free is a big deal).

 

Most of the truly talented high school players in Minnesota are multi-sport athletes, too. I say stay in high school in Minnesota and do multiple sports. Be like Anders Lee and be incredible at three sports if you can.

 

In Minnesota, it costs practically nothing to play high school hockey compared to what everyone else has to pay. If you're worried about development, spend the extra thousands to work on conditioning and with a skills coach and get that one-on-one or small group coaching.

 

I don't know many coaches in Minnesota who aren't aware that junior hockey is a higher level of hockey than almost anything you'd play in Minnesota (there are a handful of high school programs that are better than most NA3HL teams and substantially better than all USPHL Midwest teams). When they advocate kids to stay, it's for the reasons I'm speaking of above. It's also highly recommended that a player me emotionally and mentally mature before leaving home to play junior hockey. Waiting until after high school to pursue junior hockey really is a good idea for most kids (to say nothing of physical maturity).

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TheShow

I'm fairly positive every player in Minnesota is aware that the NAHL and USHL are superior leagues in terms of talent than Minnesota high school and the NA3HL is a step up unless you play in the Lake Conference (Edina, Eden Prairie, Wayzata, etc.). The North Iowa Bulls cut kids who were top scorers on their high school teams in Minnesota with some regularity. The NA3HL is solid Tier III junior hockey.

 

The question is, really, should you leave high school to play in the USHL or NAHL? Unless you're going to be a top-six forward in the USHL, top four defenseman, or a goalie at least splitting time, I'd say no. Stay back in high school, play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, play high school, and live a normal, well-rounded life. It makes little little sense to leave high school to go to the NAHL, NA3HL, or USPHL Midwest. There's no need to rush the process. Be dominant player in high school, get those touches, play on the power play and the penalty kill, work on your offensive creativity. Leaving early for the USHL is all that makes sense, because if you're going to be within the areas I mention above as a high-schooler, you're in the running to be drafted in the NHL Entry Draft. No one under the age of 18 should be playing in the USHL as a depth player (unless money is suddenly an issue for your family and playing for free is a big deal).

 

Most of the truly talented high school players in Minnesota are multi-sport athletes, too. I say stay in high school in Minnesota and do multiple sports. Be like Anders Lee and be incredible at three sports if you can.

 

In Minnesota, it costs practically nothing to play high school hockey compared to what everyone else has to pay. If you're worried about development, spend the extra thousands to work on conditioning and with a skills coach and get that one-on-one or small group coaching.

 

I don't know many coaches in Minnesota who aren't aware that junior hockey is a higher level of hockey than almost anything you'd play in Minnesota (there are a handful of high school programs that are better than most NA3HL teams and substantially better than all USPHL Midwest teams). When they advocate kids to stay, it's for the reasons I'm speaking of above. It's also highly recommended that a player me emotionally and mentally mature before leaving home to play junior hockey. Waiting until after high school to pursue junior hockey really is a good idea for most kids (to say nothing of physical maturity).

 

Yea, "get those touches" against kids who aren't the best of the best. Be the king of drop in hockey. Be the big fish in a small pond. Put up Nintendo numbers like Tanner Lane, get yourself drafted and then as a senior in college, put up 2 points to cap off a wildly successful 25 point 122 game college career as a forward.

 

If you are a 16 year old kid, hanging around the USHL, you are getting countless hours practicing with the best in the US. You are getting to work on "offensive creativity" against bigger, better, faster defensemen. You are getting coached by the best junior coaches in the country, not guys who sell shoes or teach algebra for their 9-5.

 

I mean, face it, if you accept the USHL is the "best of the best", your goal as an athlete should be to get there whenever you get the chance. To willingly accept and choose to play against weaker competition shows a lack of drive that I don't want in a player.

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minor life

Have to go with Show on this one. Too many coaches in Minnesota do actually tell players that HS in Minnesota is better than the USHL. They do say it, and have said it to me and my clients. Some people are brain washed over there. Some live in fear that if they even go to a USHL camp that the HS team will not take them back when they find out about it. That too has been used as a threat.

 

If what I am hearing is true, Rochester will have a USHL team fairly soon, not through expansion. Then, parents and players can go watch and see how they compare.

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Bevalaqua

Last time I checked, there were plenty of Minnesota players on USHL rosters. Personally, I think kids should play at the highest level they can when they are ready. If that means wait until you graduate high school and then spend a year in the USHL that's fine. If it means leave your high school early in order to pursue your dream, that works too. My son never played high school hockey - he played on top level U16 and U18 teams before going to the USHL and it worked for him. He spent his first season in the USHL on the 3rd and 4th lines, but he said that was much better than playing U18 (or high school or prep) since he got to skate 6 days a week and train and play with the highest level coaches and players in what he says was run like a pro team. Not only that, it was free (he's broken 10 sticks this season, so that's $2,000 I've saved right there!). The next year, he was top 6... Everybody is different, though.

 

But regardless, I think having USHL team in Minn makes a lot of sense. They should be able to establish a viable fan base and provide some good entertainment and a taste of what the USHL has to offer to that state.

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kwey24

If a player and his family is dumb enough to believe Minnesota high school is better than the USHL, well, they deserve what they get. Without even watching the USHL, all you have to do is research the players.

 

It's almost as dumb as someone saying the national championship college football team is better than the Cleveland Browns. Sorry folks, everyone on the Cleveland Browns was a top player in college and now has even more experience. Almost everyone in the USHL was one of the very, very best players in their previous league (once in awhile you get a specific role player for whom that's not true, but it's few and far between).

 

There's nothing magical about USHL practices. I saw plenty of 16-year-olds make the jump too early, lose their confidence, and end up people nobody's even heard of now. Very little goes wrong waiting to go to the USHL or major juniors (or the NAHL). A lot can go wrong if you go too soon.

 

As for Tanner Lane, would an extra year of USHL hockey really have made any difference? I highly, highly doubt it. Your talent is, what your talent is. Did playing in the USHL forever like Tristan Llewellyn help him much? Nick Petrecki? I'm not even arguing that those two went early. What I'm saying is they plateaued. Same with Tanner Lane. Would it have made a difference for Nico Sacchetti if he'd gone to the USHL earlier? (Would he have even made it any earlier?) Tanner Lane's topping out where he did had nothing to do with playing in the USHL one less year and everything to do with that's the amount of talent he has. If you're going backwards on UNO, that's a you problem.

 

As Nick Leddy shows, if you're good enough, you're good enough. As Nick Jensen shows, if you're good enough, you're good enough. As Nic Dowd shows, if you're good enough and work you a-- off, you're good enough. As Patrick Maroon shows, if you're good enough, you're good enough. There are many routes to the NHL.

 

I've never seen a kid who played in the USHL at 16 where I said, "Man, it's a good thing that kid played in the USHL at 16, otherwise he would never made the league and never have been anything."

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Mr Ricochet

Last time I checked, there were plenty of Minnesota players on USHL rosters. Personally, I think kids should play at the highest level they can when they are ready. If that means wait until you graduate high school and then spend a year in the USHL that's fine. If it means leave your high school early in order to pursue your dream, that works too. My son never played high school hockey - he played on top level U16 and U18 teams before going to the USHL and it worked for him. He spent his first season in the USHL on the 3rd and 4th lines, but he said that was much better than playing U18 (or high school or prep) since he got to skate 6 days a week and train and play with the highest level coaches and players in what he says was run like a pro team. Not only that, it was free (he's broken 10 sticks this season, so that's $2,000 I've saved right there!). The next year, he was top 6... Everybody is different, though.

 

But regardless, I think having USHL team in Minn makes a lot of sense. They should be able to establish a viable fan base and provide some good entertainment and a taste of what the USHL has to offer to that state.

 

Great post on all counts. Very helpful with real life experience to draw upon to make a point. My takeaway is it's the practice man, it's the practice. This is where your foundation is built, not in a game. The game is like the golf ball, if it slices or hooks it tells you what you need to practice and fix but you'll never fix or practice something in a game.

 

The 2nd takeaway is each situation and kid is different. This is where I agree with all of ML, Kwey and Show. But given a generic situation from behind my keyboard I'll always say find competition a tad higher than your skill set, elevate to it, wash rinse and repeat.

 

I do agree, MN should have a USHL team.

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TheShow

If a player and his family is dumb enough to believe Minnesota high school is better than the USHL, well, they deserve what they get. Without even watching the USHL, all you have to do is research the players.

 

It's almost as dumb as someone saying the national championship college football team is better than the Cleveland Browns. Sorry folks, everyone on the Cleveland Browns was a top player in college and now has even more experience. Almost everyone in the USHL was one of the very, very best players in their previous league (once in awhile you get a specific role player for whom that's not true, but it's few and far between).

 

There's nothing magical about USHL practices. I saw plenty of 16-year-olds make the jump too early, lose their confidence, and end up people nobody's even heard of now. Very little goes wrong waiting to go to the USHL or major juniors (or the NAHL). A lot can go wrong if you go too soon.

 

As for Tanner Lane, would an extra year of USHL hockey really have made any difference? I highly, highly doubt it. Your talent is, what your talent is. Did playing in the USHL forever like Tristan Llewellyn help him much? Nick Petrecki? I'm not even arguing that those two went early. What I'm saying is they plateaued. Same with Tanner Lane. Would it have made a difference for Nico Sacchetti if he'd gone to the USHL earlier? (Would he have even made it any earlier?) Tanner Lane's topping out where he did had nothing to do with playing in the USHL one less year and everything to do with that's the amount of talent he has. If you're going backwards on UNO, that's a you problem.

 

As Nick Leddy shows, if you're good enough, you're good enough. As Nick Jensen shows, if you're good enough, you're good enough. As Nic Dowd shows, if you're good enough and work you a-- off, you're good enough. As Patrick Maroon shows, if you're good enough, you're good enough. There are many routes to the NHL.

 

I've never seen a kid who played in the USHL at 16 where I said, "Man, it's a good thing that kid played in the USHL at 16, otherwise he would never made the league and never have been anything."

 

"Very little goes wrong" if a player splashes around in the kiddie pool too long? Tanner's a perfect example. He got to put up his Nintendo numbers and when he stepped up to playing with the big boys, his game was so broken because he kept thinking he could just go through everyone and even the big 17 year olds were putting him in his place from day 1. He was getting wrecked over and over that about 10 games in, I referred to him as "Two-Left-Feet" Tanner because he'd play scared and basically tripped over the blue line, not being able to adjust to the speed and intensity of the game.

 

And I'd say there's a world of difference between a USHL practice and a Practice in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Also, if you are gonna try and sell me that learning from Dean Blais or Kevin Hartzell is the same as learning the game from Mr. Flanders after he's done dealing with kids flicking boogers in class all day or selling used cars, I again don't know what to say.

 

The USHL's focus is developing hockey players, a school's focus is developing students. If a player wants to be the best they can at hockey, they will play against the best competition.

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TheShow

Last time I checked, there were plenty of Minnesota players on USHL rosters. Personally, I think kids should play at the highest level they can when they are ready. If that means wait until you graduate high school and then spend a year in the USHL that's fine. If it means leave your high school early in order to pursue your dream, that works too. My son never played high school hockey - he played on top level U16 and U18 teams before going to the USHL and it worked for him. He spent his first season in the USHL on the 3rd and 4th lines, but he said that was much better than playing U18 (or high school or prep) since he got to skate 6 days a week and train and play with the highest level coaches and players in what he says was run like a pro team. Not only that, it was free (he's broken 10 sticks this season, so that's $2,000 I've saved right there!). The next year, he was top 6... Everybody is different, though.

 

But regardless, I think having USHL team in Minn makes a lot of sense. They should be able to establish a viable fan base and provide some good entertainment and a taste of what the USHL has to offer to that state.

 

 

Perfect anecdote. Great post. Smart kid.

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Mr Ricochet

Well, there's this thread from July of 2015. Haven't heard much about Rochester since then, though.

 

http://finishyourcheck.com/topic/97154-ushl-back-to-rochester/

 

 

Nice find, Yeti. Solid writer and he hits on a ton of subjects... Very good read.

 

Their rec rink holds 2,600, would draw from 100,000 population and is nicely located.

 

 

 

 

What about the Rochester Rec Center, you ask? The Rec Center is an awesome place to watch hockey. The view from the loft is the best spot in town to watch a game. However, with the growth -- both in terms of number of teams and in terms of recognition as a ultra-talented league -- of the USHL, I'd guess the league is looking to place teams in arenas that seat more than the 2,600 or so that the Rec Center can hold. But selling out the Rec Center would mean more attendance than a couple of USHL teams with roughly 3,000-seat buildings that don't sell out on a nightly basis.

 

The whole Destination Medical Center plan probably helps. If the city is truly going to double in size in the next two decades, a USHL team here would go from drawing on an immediate population of 110,000 to one of more than 200,000, as well as drawing fans from surrounding communities.

 

Fallen has said in the past that keeping travel time down as much as possible is one priority. Rochester is less than 400 miles from 12 of the 17 current USHL teams, and only 405 from another (Lincoln, Neb.). Roughly half (eight) of the league's teams are within 275 miles.

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Mr Ricochet

Rochester MN? I wonder if there is a popular former NHL player working with youth hockey that would get involved? I wonder if another Rochester team might not have a lease for next year?

 

There you go being cryptic again, ML......... Which MN city would be the best fit for a USHL entry?

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iowaninja

I would guess Doug Zmolek would be the person he's talking about, Doug played in the NHL and is part of the youth hockey program, his son also plays for Cedar Rapids

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minor life

I would guess Doug Zmolek would be the person he's talking about, Doug played in the NHL and is part of the youth hockey program, his son also plays for Cedar Rapids

 

Nice guess, but not Doug. Sorry Rico, on some things I have to be cryptic. If not some people involved might not keep me in the loop. Rochester is a great location and I think the USHL could do very well there. I could see the right group being motivated to get a meeting with the league as soon as today, maybe yesterday. I could see the arena that has housed a Tier 3 money making machine for a number of years possibly having a general framework for a lease already done. If you are from Minnesota or have followed hockey there its easy enough to figure out.

 

With multiple teams now being shopped due to attendance factors, a sale and relocation would not surprise anyone if it were announced in May.

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kwey24

To answer a question from another thread that was brought back to life about Rochester: I wouldn't want to own a USHL team long-term in the current building. It's inadequate for what you'd expect out of a modern USHL team.

 

I imagine finding owners for a Rochester USHL team if a new arena can be constructed wouldn't be too hard. In a new arena, you probably could average 2,500 a game in Rochester. You won't do that where they're at now--people will just still go up to Excel or Mariucci. But, give Rochester something on par with other recent USHL arenas, I suspect they'd respond to the tune of around 2,500 people a game with a well-run organization. Everyone probably remembers how I like to see 3,000 fans per game for a USHL team, but almost nobody is averaging that anymore. Even Lincoln isn't. So, find some owners willing to lose some money each year for the good of hockey and the City of Rochester (those people do exist), and away you go.

 

Now, does securing a USHL team now in Rochester help get or keep the ball rolling for a new arena in Rochester? Yes. The interesting thing is that there was word out of Rochester last year that the Minnesota Timberwolves were interested in putting an NBA D-League team in Rochester if they got a new arena. A USHL hockey team in the current rink would ensure a future tenant for any such new arena, which might be enough to actually get it built, which actually would also bring a D-League team to Rochester. Now, I'm not sure how much a USHL hockey team would really want a D-League team to compete against for sponsorship dollars, fans, etc. However, two tenants in such an arena makes it truly viable for the city (which is already putting a lot of money into upgrading their old all-purpose arena--which does not have hockey capacities).

 

With all of that said, USHL hockey in Rochester would almost certainly go over better than Bloomington or Chicago or Youngstown (can't say Youngstown's ownership hasn't been committed over these years...). So, if you're going to move a USHL team, there aren't many places better than Rochester to move it to. Wausau, Wisconsin, and Racine, Wisconsin, are up there, but Rochester is the option that looks the most likely of actually happening.

 

All things considered, given how dismal USHL attendance is these days (nobody outside of Sioux Falls is really doing that great in terms of attendance anymore), Rochester would actually now be right around average for the league--which is becoming so expensive to own it's unreal.

 

In reality, the USHL needs to contract geographically to keep things financially viable. Abandon Bloomington, abandon Chicago, don't try to fill Indianapolis again, abandon Youngstown, and then you may have to abandon Muskegon, too. There is the problem of the USNTDP and the existence of the USNTDP and the desire to keep it in the league might be enough to save Muskegon (travel partner). The other option is to abandon Muskegon, too, and to start playing the USNTDP like you would a college team (Friday and Saturday night).

 

In the end, dropping the Illinois teams and Youngstown and filling them in with Rochester and perhaps markets like Wausau and Racine helps out the current teams a lot.

 

It'd all be a bummer for the Ice Hawks, though. The team would almost certainly have to move or go dark. If it were to be moved, I'd move it to Marshall, Minnesota. Marshall has the new Red Baron Arena (part of a multi-million dollar facility). It seats 1,200, has a second sheet, and Marshall has about 13,500 people (right in that population range with New Ulm, Alexandria, and Willmar). It's also in the geographic footprint of the West Division. Marshall is also the home to Southwest Minnesota State University. Full-time enrollment is 3,700 students and it'd be a legitimate part-time education option for players, particularly those from Minnesota. That'd make it difficult for the Fatis family to be directly involved like they have been all these years, but there really aren't any other options close by. Red Wing, Minnesota, might be an option, but it isn't all that close and getting the ice time there might be difficult. Kasson, Minnesota's rink is not an NA3HL caliber facility. Albert Lea may have territorial issues and it has Waldorf College's team at current. I wouldn't choose Fairmont or Worthington over Marshall (facilities probably wouldn't get the green light for an NA3HL team). Cambridge/Isanti could be an option (I don't think Forest Lake's proximity would be an issue since those two were allowed to coexist previously by USA Hockey). Crookston, Minnesota, has a nice facility (not quite as nice as Marshall, but decent), but it might be stretching the geographic vicinity. The NA3HL would approve Marshall before they approve Crookston. It'd be great to see Crookston get a junior hockey team, although it might have to be in the SIJHL like Thief River Falls. Crookston is actually closer, in general, to NA3HL teams, but Thief River Falls is close by and Fort Frances and the Minnesota Iron Rangers aren't ridiculous distances. Thunder Bay, Dryden, and English River would be hikes, though. Grand Rapids, Minnesota, would be a good location for an SIJHL team, too, although competing against their high school team right now might be tough--they just won the state championship in 2A. The arena in Grand Rapids is pretty nice, though. Actually, about 15 years ago, the Iron Range Yellow Jackets played out of the IRA Civic Arena and were members of the MnJHL and affiliate members of the SIJHL.

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SCBlueLiner

So none of you have heard the push out of Minnesota Hockey (USAH Affiliate) to move the NTDP to Rochester. Not saying that would ever happen, just saying there were a few people at the MAHA level who were pushing for it.

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Maiden

So none of you have heard the push out of Minnesota Hockey (USAH Affiliate) to move the NTDP to Rochester. Not saying that would ever happen, just saying there were a few people at the MAHA level who were pushing for it.

They just bought the Compuware arena. There not going to Minnesota anytime soon. They can push all they want.

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Mr Ricochet

To answer a question from another thread that was brought back to life about Rochester: I wouldn't want to own a USHL team long-term in the current building. It's inadequate for what you'd expect out of a modern USHL team.

 

I imagine finding owners for a Rochester USHL team if a new arena can be constructed wouldn't be too hard. In a new arena, you probably could average 2,500 a game in Rochester. You won't do that where they're at now--people will just still go up to Excel or Mariucci. But, give Rochester something on par with other recent USHL arenas, I suspect they'd respond to the tune of around 2,500 people a game with a well-run organization. Everyone probably remembers how I like to see 3,000 fans per game for a USHL team, but almost nobody is averaging that anymore. Even Lincoln isn't. So, find some owners willing to lose some money each year for the good of hockey and the City of Rochester (those people do exist), and away you go.

 

Now, does securing a USHL team now in Rochester help get or keep the ball rolling for a new arena in Rochester? Yes. The interesting thing is that there was word out of Rochester last year that the Minnesota Timberwolves were interested in putting an NBA D-League team in Rochester if they got a new arena. A USHL hockey team in the current rink would ensure a future tenant for any such new arena, which might be enough to actually get it built, which actually would also bring a D-League team to Rochester. Now, I'm not sure how much a USHL hockey team would really want a D-League team to compete against for sponsorship dollars, fans, etc. However, two tenants in such an arena makes it truly viable for the city (which is already putting a lot of money into upgrading their old all-purpose arena--which does not have hockey capacities).

 

With all of that said, USHL hockey in Rochester would almost certainly go over better than Bloomington or Chicago or Youngstown (can't say Youngstown's ownership hasn't been committed over these years...). So, if you're going to move a USHL team, there aren't many places better than Rochester to move it to. Wausau, Wisconsin, and Racine, Wisconsin, are up there, but Rochester is the option that looks the most likely of actually happening.

 

All things considered, given how dismal USHL attendance is these days (nobody outside of Sioux Falls is really doing that great in terms of attendance anymore), Rochester would actually now be right around average for the league--which is becoming so expensive to own it's unreal.

 

In reality, the USHL needs to contract geographically to keep things financially viable. Abandon Bloomington, abandon Chicago, don't try to fill Indianapolis again, abandon Youngstown, and then you may have to abandon Muskegon, too. There is the problem of the USNTDP and the existence of the USNTDP and the desire to keep it in the league might be enough to save Muskegon (travel partner). The other option is to abandon Muskegon, too, and to start playing the USNTDP like you would a college team (Friday and Saturday night).

In the end, dropping the Illinois teams and Youngstown and filling them in with Rochester and perhaps markets like Wausau and Racine helps out the current teams a lot.

 

It'd all be a bummer for the Ice Hawks, though. The team would almost certainly have to move or go dark. If it were to be moved, I'd move it to Marshall, Minnesota. Marshall has the new Red Baron Arena (part of a multi-million dollar facility). It seats 1,200, has a second sheet, and Marshall has about 13,500 people (right in that population range with New Ulm, Alexandria, and Willmar). It's also in the geographic footprint of the West Division. Marshall is also the home to Southwest Minnesota State University. Full-time enrollment is 3,700 students and it'd be a legitimate part-time education option for players, particularly those from Minnesota. That'd make it difficult for the Fatis family to be directly involved like they have been all these years, but there really aren't any other options close by. Red Wing, Minnesota, might be an option, but it isn't all that close and getting the ice time there might be difficult. Kasson, Minnesota's rink is not an NA3HL caliber facility. Albert Lea may have territorial issues and it has Waldorf College's team at current. I wouldn't choose Fairmont or Worthington over Marshall (facilities probably wouldn't get the green light for an NA3HL team). Cambridge/Isanti could be an option (I don't think Forest Lake's proximity would be an issue since those two were allowed to coexist previously by USA Hockey). Crookston, Minnesota, has a nice facility (not quite as nice as Marshall, but decent), but it might be stretching the geographic vicinity. The NA3HL would approve Marshall before they approve Crookston. It'd be great to see Crookston get a junior hockey team, although it might have to be in the SIJHL like Thief River Falls. Crookston is actually closer, in general, to NA3HL teams, but Thief River Falls is close by and Fort Frances and the Minnesota Iron Rangers aren't ridiculous distances. Thunder Bay, Dryden, and English River would be hikes, though. Grand Rapids, Minnesota, would be a good location for an SIJHL team, too, although competing against their high school team right now might be tough--they just won the state championship in 2A. The arena in Grand Rapids is pretty nice, though. Actually, about 15 years ago, the Iron Range Yellow Jackets played out of the IRA Civic Arena and were members of the MnJHL and affiliate members of the SIJHL.

 

 

As always a ton of info in your post..........

 

I'm never against running lean and pragmatic but I'd think long and hard about leaving the state of Michigan, a state where if I were to retire and move just for the sake of the quality and choices of hockey at all levels that's where I'm going. To me Michigan is the State of Hockey in this country......

 

Was just mentioning that the Jacks are gaining traction with Muskegon fans. I see and feel a buzz there I haven't since the AA pro Fury. I'd also mention there were about 4 or so groups of Jack fans totaling 15 or so people in Chicago for the game last Saturday. First I've seen traveling Jack fans in Chicago.

 

Chicago: Kwey like Muskegon there is a buzz here for the Steel I haven't seen. Robbins has spent to put together as deep and quality filled front office/scouting/coaching/evaluating/marketing group (they are advertising on ESPN radio in the Chicago market and you know that ain't cheap) as any in this league in their new digs on the grounds of top 10-15 drawing Kane County Cougars in all of minor league baseball. .... They have everything to succeed long term sans an arena, but that doesn't seem to be a concern for Robbins, at this point.

 

Does that mean anything long term? Who knows but the arrow is pointing up for the Steel franchise on all counts and Robbins is constructing this franchise like he plans to be around a while, and winning some hockey games.

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Mr Ricochet

 

I would guess Doug Zmolek would be the person he's talking about, Doug played in the NHL and is part of the youth hockey program, his son also plays for Cedar Rapids

 

Nice guess, but not Doug. Sorry Rico, on some things I have to be cryptic. If not some people involved might not keep me in the loop. Rochester is a great location and I think the USHL could do very well there. I could see the right group being motivated to get a meeting with the league as soon as today, maybe yesterday. I could see the arena that has housed a Tier 3 money making machine for a number of years possibly having a general framework for a lease already done. If you are from Minnesota or have followed hockey there its easy enough to figure out.

 

With multiple teams now being shopped due to attendance factors, a sale and relocation would not surprise anyone if it were announced in May.

 

 

Understood....... I like your enthusiasm for Rochester.

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kwey24

 

To answer a question from another thread that was brought back to life about Rochester: I wouldn't want to own a USHL team long-term in the current building. It's inadequate for what you'd expect out of a modern USHL team.

 

I imagine finding owners for a Rochester USHL team if a new arena can be constructed wouldn't be too hard. In a new arena, you probably could average 2,500 a game in Rochester. You won't do that where they're at now--people will just still go up to Excel or Mariucci. But, give Rochester something on par with other recent USHL arenas, I suspect they'd respond to the tune of around 2,500 people a game with a well-run organization. Everyone probably remembers how I like to see 3,000 fans per game for a USHL team, but almost nobody is averaging that anymore. Even Lincoln isn't. So, find some owners willing to lose some money each year for the good of hockey and the City of Rochester (those people do exist), and away you go.

 

Now, does securing a USHL team now in Rochester help get or keep the ball rolling for a new arena in Rochester? Yes. The interesting thing is that there was word out of Rochester last year that the Minnesota Timberwolves were interested in putting an NBA D-League team in Rochester if they got a new arena. A USHL hockey team in the current rink would ensure a future tenant for any such new arena, which might be enough to actually get it built, which actually would also bring a D-League team to Rochester. Now, I'm not sure how much a USHL hockey team would really want a D-League team to compete against for sponsorship dollars, fans, etc. However, two tenants in such an arena makes it truly viable for the city (which is already putting a lot of money into upgrading their old all-purpose arena--which does not have hockey capacities).

 

With all of that said, USHL hockey in Rochester would almost certainly go over better than Bloomington or Chicago or Youngstown (can't say Youngstown's ownership hasn't been committed over these years...). So, if you're going to move a USHL team, there aren't many places better than Rochester to move it to. Wausau, Wisconsin, and Racine, Wisconsin, are up there, but Rochester is the option that looks the most likely of actually happening.

 

All things considered, given how dismal USHL attendance is these days (nobody outside of Sioux Falls is really doing that great in terms of attendance anymore), Rochester would actually now be right around average for the league--which is becoming so expensive to own it's unreal.

 

In reality, the USHL needs to contract geographically to keep things financially viable. Abandon Bloomington, abandon Chicago, don't try to fill Indianapolis again, abandon Youngstown, and then you may have to abandon Muskegon, too. There is the problem of the USNTDP and the existence of the USNTDP and the desire to keep it in the league might be enough to save Muskegon (travel partner). The other option is to abandon Muskegon, too, and to start playing the USNTDP like you would a college team (Friday and Saturday night).

In the end, dropping the Illinois teams and Youngstown and filling them in with Rochester and perhaps markets like Wausau and Racine helps out the current teams a lot.

 

It'd all be a bummer for the Ice Hawks, though. The team would almost certainly have to move or go dark. If it were to be moved, I'd move it to Marshall, Minnesota. Marshall has the new Red Baron Arena (part of a multi-million dollar facility). It seats 1,200, has a second sheet, and Marshall has about 13,500 people (right in that population range with New Ulm, Alexandria, and Willmar). It's also in the geographic footprint of the West Division. Marshall is also the home to Southwest Minnesota State University. Full-time enrollment is 3,700 students and it'd be a legitimate part-time education option for players, particularly those from Minnesota. That'd make it difficult for the Fatis family to be directly involved like they have been all these years, but there really aren't any other options close by. Red Wing, Minnesota, might be an option, but it isn't all that close and getting the ice time there might be difficult. Kasson, Minnesota's rink is not an NA3HL caliber facility. Albert Lea may have territorial issues and it has Waldorf College's team at current. I wouldn't choose Fairmont or Worthington over Marshall (facilities probably wouldn't get the green light for an NA3HL team). Cambridge/Isanti could be an option (I don't think Forest Lake's proximity would be an issue since those two were allowed to coexist previously by USA Hockey). Crookston, Minnesota, has a nice facility (not quite as nice as Marshall, but decent), but it might be stretching the geographic vicinity. The NA3HL would approve Marshall before they approve Crookston. It'd be great to see Crookston get a junior hockey team, although it might have to be in the SIJHL like Thief River Falls. Crookston is actually closer, in general, to NA3HL teams, but Thief River Falls is close by and Fort Frances and the Minnesota Iron Rangers aren't ridiculous distances. Thunder Bay, Dryden, and English River would be hikes, though. Grand Rapids, Minnesota, would be a good location for an SIJHL team, too, although competing against their high school team right now might be tough--they just won the state championship in 2A. The arena in Grand Rapids is pretty nice, though. Actually, about 15 years ago, the Iron Range Yellow Jackets played out of the IRA Civic Arena and were members of the MnJHL and affiliate members of the SIJHL.

 

 

As always a ton of info in your post..........

 

I'm never against running lean and pragmatic but I'd think long and hard about leaving the state of Michigan, a state where if I were to retire and move just for the sake of the quality and choices of hockey at all levels that's where I'm going. To me Michigan is the State of Hockey in this country......

 

Was just mentioning that the Jacks are gaining traction with Muskegon fans. I see and feel a buzz there I haven't since the AA pro Fury. I'd also mention there were about 4 or so groups of Jack fans totaling 15 or so people in Chicago for the game last Saturday. First I've seen traveling Jack fans in Chicago.

 

Chicago: Kwey like Muskegon there is a buzz here for the Steel I haven't seen. Robbins has spent to put together as deep and quality filled front office/scouting/coaching/evaluating/marketing group (they are advertising on ESPN radio in the Chicago market and you know that ain't cheap) as any in this league in their new digs on the grounds of top 10-15 drawing Kane County Cougars in all of minor league baseball. .... They have everything to succeed long term sans an arena, but that doesn't seem to be a concern for Robbins, at this point.

 

Does that mean anything long term? Who knows but the arrow is pointing up for the Steel franchise on all counts and Robbins is constructing this franchise like he plans to be around a while, and winning some hockey games.

 

 

Robbins could potentially do all of that same stuff in a market that actually cares, too. I appreciate everything Robbins is doing, but I just don't think a lot of people in Kane County are going to go to a lot of Steel games at the Fox Valley Ice Arena. It's just not a USHL-caliber venue, which you really, really need to have in an area like the Chicagoland where there is so much to do (including go to the Blackhawks or Wolves). As we've harped on for over 10 years--build a USHL caliber arena in Joliet, and you'll do just fine. I just don't see Robbins getting much more than 1,500 people at Fox Valley no matter what he does.

 

I'm aware things in Muskegon are trending a positive direction; but, if Chicago were no longer in the USHL, it makes it harder to justify having Muskegon. It really comes down to how committed to the Chicagoland is Robbins. If Wausau, Wisconsin, got a new USHL arena, would he stay in Chicago? That said, if the USNTDP is still in the league, that probably saves Muskegon. The USHL losing Muskegon would be like when the NAHL loses Johnstown. It won't be that the Tomahawks aren't well-supported, it's because all the other teams close to them fail and it just becomes impossible to keep them.

 

If USA Hockey has to end to the USNTDP to pay for the women's national team, all bets are off for Muskegon if Chicago is lost (that's tongue-in-cheek, folks).

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Maiden

The current owner of the Steel will leave the Chicago market for 2 reasons:

 

a. He prefers his sons play in the USPHL alphabet soup free to pay junior league based in the east coast where they are from. Or

 

b. His sons all age out and he doesn't need the USHL any longer.

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