Home Sweet Home; The Austin Bruins have signed a 3-year deal to stay in Austin, committing to a long-term relationship

Published 2:01 pm Sunday, December 7, 2014

Austin’s Luke Dietsch carries the puck into the Janesville zone this year. Herald file photos

Austin’s Luke Dietsch carries the puck into the Janesville zone this year. Herald file photos

The Austin Bruins aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The team recently signed a lease to stay for three more years after this season and co-owners Craig Patrick and Mike Cooper are all-in when it comes to keeping the town in Austin.

The signing of the lease comes after the city of Austin announced it was going to do some renovations to Riverside Arena after it received a $150,000 Mighty Ducks Grant.


Bruins owner Craig Patrick stands with Mike Cooper who bacame minority owner in July. Herald file photo

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Patrick, a Hudson Wis. native, brought the Bruins to town in 2010 and he said he hopes the new lease shows that the team is committed to staying in Austin.

“We’re really excited to sign a new lease with the city,” Patrick said. “If nobody could ever ask me if we’re leaving town again, that would be great. Because the last five years I hear it every two weeks. We’re not going anywhere. We want to be here and we’re excited to be here.”

The Bruins had their best season to date last year when the squad won the NAHL Central Division and advanced all of the way to the Robertson Cup Finals, where it finished in second place. The team has a former player in Christian Folin playing for the Minnesota Wild, former goalie Nick Lehr is playing for the Minnesota Gophers and former forward CJ Smith, who was recently named Pro Ambitions rookie of the month at UMass-Lowell.

“The high end players want to come to a place that’s fun and exciting, and we’re not to far from Minneapolis so their parents can fly in and watch them play,” Patrick said. “The location of Austin and the fan base really helps us get those higher end players.”

Cooper, who joined Patrick as an owner before this season began, said the franchise is in good shape. He said the attendance has been good this year and the sponsorship and support from local businesses are the best they’ve ever been.

Cooper and Patrick are doing everything they can to keep the Bruins financially secure, so they can stay in Austin for a long time.

“The Bruins have never been stronger from a business standpoint and I think we’re set to make the Bruins a long-term part of the Austin community,” Cooper said. “At the end of the day, Craig and I aren’t trying to get rich off of the Austin Bruins. We’re just trying to have fun and enjoy having a team in the community.”

Patrick said the addition of Cooper, who lives in Austin, has made it a lot easier to run the team

“It’s so great to have Mike here and have somebody with vested interest in the team that is a local person and cares as much as I do about the team,” Patrick said. “Mike’s interest is the same as mine to grow the team and grow the brand so when our kids are our age, the Bruins are still here.”

The Bruins currently have a record of 12-7-7 overall and they trail first place Minot by two points in the NAHL Central Division.