December 21, 2012 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
FRISCO, TEXAS - The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the Minnesota Junior Hockey Group, a private group led by Scott Krueger, Scott Meyer and Joe Pankratz, has completed the acquisition of the NAHL's inactive New Mexico Mustangs membership and will relocate it to Richfield, Minnesota, a suburb in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The NAHL Board of Governors has granted a membership to the yet to be named team for the 2013-14 NAHL season. The NAHL is the oldest and largest junior hockey league in the United States, currently with 24 teams representing 13 states.
The Richfield, Minnesota team recently acquired the inactive New Mexico Mustangs membership. The Mustangs played in the NAHL during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. The new team in Richfield will play their home games out of Richfield Ice Arena. The two-sheet facility has a main arena with seating for 1,800.
"We have always looked at the Richfield area and Richfield Ice Arena as a great place for hockey," said Scott Krueger, principal Owner and Governor for the Minnesota Junior Hockey Group. "When we started looking at potential venues the city of Richfield was very accommodating to our idea and helping to make the arena feasible for junior hockey. The partnership with the city of Richfield secured the deal and we are excited to work together for years to come." The city is planning on several enhancements to the facility over the next eight months in preparation for the new NAHL team.
"Minnesota is a state rich with hockey tradition and talent and we are excited about the opportunity to put our first NAHL team within the Twin Cities surrounding area and introduce the community to the NAHL product," said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. "The team is backed by an ownership group that has extensive experience in the sport and is committed on building a winning tradition. The strategic location in Richfield continues the growth of our central footprint and will open up more opportunity and exposure to NCAA and professional scouts."
"We felt that the Minneapolis/St. Paul area provides a lot of advantages to an NAHL franchise," continued Krueger. "There are a lot of excellent players in the area and the landscape of hockey has changed. High School players know that in order to move on to NCAA, most need to play junior hockey. The NAHL provides a great option for players looking to move on to college hockey with an excellent track record of player advancement. We also plan to treat our players and staff the same way any successful junior franchise would. We plan to make the game experience something fans will enjoy at an affordable ticket price."
A team name and head coach is expected to be announced in the near future. A presentation to and final approval by the USA Hockey junior council is expected no later than January 20th.
About Minnesota Junior Hockey Group
Minnesota Junior Hockey Group is comprised of three partners: Scott Krueger, Scott Meyer and Joe Pankratz. Krueger is the Global Vice-President in charge of Manufacturing Operations of the Hydraulic Group for the Eaton Corporation. Meyer and Pankratz are the co-founders of Exceed Hockey, which own and operate two year-round training centers with programs that include team training, summer development programs and individual skills clinics.