Junior Hockey could come to New Ulm

NEW ULM – The New Ulm Civic Center is a busy place and it may become more busy.

“We have been contacted by the owner of a NA3HL Tier III Junior Hockey team who wants to locate his team to the New Ulm Civic Center,” said New Ulm Park and Recreation Director Tom Schmitz, who did not know if the team is attempting to relocate or is an expansion team.

Schmitz said that the league has 17 teams currently in the Upper Midwest, including teams in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“The players in the league are between the ages of 16 and 20 who come into town for the winter season and stay with host families who are reimbursed for room and board expenses,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz said that the NA3HL season is 48 games long (24 home games and 24 road games).

“They normally play games Friday or Saturday nights – it is not a series with the same team – if they have two games on a weekend it would be against two different teams,” Schmitz said.

The NA3HL is a league that transitions players from high school to college and has around 20 players on a team.

Schmitz said that there are seven items that need to be negotiated.

“The team owner [who Schmitz would not identify] has asked for an exclusive and dedicated locker room with showers. We presently have the existing eight team rooms and they are very busy during the winter season. We often find ourselves needing 10-12 team rooms.”

He said that another request is that the team wants to take over the existing advertising program in the Civic Center and greatly expand it.

“They would give the city a commission on that,” Schmitz said. “Initially it would be 10 percent of proceeds.”

Schmitz said that another request is to split the concession stand proceeds in the Civic Center “50-50 with the (New Ulm-Sleepy Eye) Hockey Association during their home games. They would also like to bring in a beer and wine concession during their home games and operate that and keep the proceeds.”

The NA3HL team is also looking for a discounted rate for ice time.

“They are projecting 250-275 hours of ice time during the winter with two-thirds of those times being weekdays, mid-day Monday through Friday around noon for practices. Those are time periods where we rarely sell ice time. We have plenty of ice time available then.”

He did say that games Friday and Saturday nights would be more difficult to schedule with the high school and association youth teams also playing and with some tournaments.

The team also would like office space in the Civic Center and to have exclusive rights to run summer hockey camps for youth hockey and purchase an additional 100 hours of ice time.

Schmitz said that the New Ulm Park and Rec Commission will take this under consideration.

“Eventually this may become a City Council decision,” he said. “There are a lot of decisions and aspects to this. We have not had this kind of an offer before.”

NEW ULM HOCKEY STUFF: New Ulm High School boys’ hockey coach Erik Setterholm will run a mite camp at the Civic Center the week of June 10. More info is available on the New Ulm Hockey website.

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