BREEZY POINT — Whitebirch, Inc. has acquired from the North American Hockey League (NAHL) a franchise for a hockey team that in the Junior Tier III circuit.
The Breezy Point North Stars, will be based at the Breezy Point Hockey Center.
The NAHL is the largest USA Hockey-sanctioned Junior circuit with 28 teams.
Goals of junior hockey are to promote, develop and administer the domestic USA Hockey program for junior-aged players, teams and leagues and is available to athletes who are 20 and under as of Dec. 31 of the current season of competition.
The program is available to high school students and graduates who seek a challenge that might not be available through their prep school team, high school varsity or club team or area 18-under teams.
The principal purpose of this development program is to prepare the athlete for career advancement, either in a collegiate program or a professional opportunity.
This is not a traditional semi-pro team. League regulations protect the amateur status of all participants under rules and guidelines established by the International Ice Hockey Federation, USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, the NCAA, the NAIA and the National Federation of High Schools.
Recruiting for players will begin shortly. The recruitment of as many Minnesota players as possible will be attempted but at least half the roster will most likely be players from all over the U.S. One or two players from outside the U.S. may be carried.
Recruitment will be conducted by Joe Bergquist, general manager of the Hockey Center, and head coach Bryan Henrichs.
The season will begin in September with 48 games scheduled through March, at which time the playoffs will begin.
The 3HL currently has three teams in Minnesota — the Granite City Lumberjacks (Sauk Rapids), Minnesota Flying Aces (Little Falls) and the Twin City Steel (Vadnais Heights).
The North Iowa Bulls of Mason City, Iowa, complete the 3HL’s West Division.
Sixteen teams from seven states (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania) currently compete in the 3HL.
“I am truly excited about this great addition to the hockey scene in the Brainerd lakes area,” Bob Spizzo, Whitebirch Inc. CEO, said in a news release. “The Breezy Point North Stars will not only generate new jobs and entertainment in our area but, more importantly, will create an environment in which these young players can sharpen their hockey skills while preparing themselves for leadership roles in the future.”