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 for the 2013-14 season, according to a NAHL news release.
The NAHL is the oldest and largest junior hockey league in the United States, currently with 24 teams in 13 states.
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 with a main arena which seats 1,800.
“We have always looked at the Richfield area and Richfield Ice Arena as a great place for hockey,” said 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.”
Richfield 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,” NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld said. “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.”
The Gophers have two players on their current roster who played in the NAHL. They are defenseman Jake Parenteau, who plays regularly, and forward Jared Larson, who doesn't.
Said 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.”
A team name and head coach is expected to be announced in the near future.
Final approval by the USA Hockey junior council of this franchise is expected no later than January 20..