The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced that its Board of Governors has accepted the membership application for a team in Mason City, Iowa, to begin play for the 2011-12 season.
The team, which is owned by Consolidated Sports Holdings USA, Inc., will be named the Mason City Bulls and play its home games out of the North Iowa Ice Arena in Mason City.
“We couldn’t be happier to bring junior hockey back to Mason City, a community that boasts such a rich hockey tradition, specifically junior hockey,” said NA3HL president Mark Frankenfeld. “Behind an experienced ownership group – one that fosters our league’s mission of player development and advancement in addition to working closely with the local youth affiliates – all the pieces are in place for success, on and off the ice.”
“This is a great opportunity to bring junior hockey back to Mason City as a member of the NA3HL,” said Gary Gelinas, executive vice president of Consolidated Sports, which also owns the Amarillo (Texas) Bulls and Texas Tornado of the Tier II Junior A North American Hockey League (NAHL). “We’re committed to the 3HL and the market of Mason City, and, with the strong support the community has shown for junior hockey in the past, we’re excited to position ourselves as one of the top markets in the NA3HL.”
Mason City was the home of the North Iowa Huskies of the United States Hockey League from 1983-99, followed by the NAHL’s North Iowa Outlaws from 2005-10.
“Mason City is excited to welcome junior hockey back to the community,” said Mason City Youth Hockey Association president Dan Burgmeier. “We’ve always supported this level of the sport with much enthusiasm and we’re looking forward to our relationship with the NA3HL.”
“We want to thank Mason City and the Mason City Youth Hockey Association for working with us to bring such a high-level hockey back to town,” added Gelinas. “The 3HL model fits well into Consolidated Sports’ philosophy of player and staff development, and we’ll put the best product on the ice and work to earn the respect of the community off it.”
The NA3HL also recently announced the acceptance of three membership applications from teams in Minnesota to begin play next season: the Granite City Lumberjacks (Sauk Rapids, Minn.), Minnesota Flying Aces (Little Falls, Minn.) and a team from Vadnais Heights, Minn.
Twelve teams from six states (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania) competed in the NA3HL during its inaugural 2010-11 season.