Council to learn more about proposed junior hockey team

Published 7:13 am Monday, January 18, 2010

Representatives from the North American Hockey League are expected to meet with city council Tuesday night as the league looks at Austin as a possible expansion city.

The team would come in the form of a franchise owned by a Hudson, Wis., man, who parks and recreation director Kim Underwood said wants to remain anonymous until a contract is signed with the city to use Riverside Arena.

The parks and recreation department has backed the potential team, and council members seemed supportive when they first heard of the possibility.

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“It sounds fun,” councilman Steve King said at a recent meeting.

If a team did come to town, it would be the first junior team in Austin since the Mavericks left in 1985, Underwood said.

The parks and recreation director added that it’s her understanding that Austin is the man’s first choice for his franchise’s location.

To make Riverside ready for a potential team, renovations would likely have to be made to the arena’s north end bathroom. New lockers would also have to be added and an existing space would need to be turned into a team office.

City administrator Jim Hurm said he hopes to have details on these costs ready for council on Tuesday.

The team would be joining the NAHL’s central division, which currently includes the Albert Lea Thunder, the Alexandria Blizzard, the Bismark Bobcats, the North Iowa Outlaws and the Owatonna Express.