The United States Hockey League today announced that it has awarded a new membership to Northern Lights Hockey, LLC which will own and operate the Member Club in Dubuque, Iowa beginning with the 2010-11 USHL season.
"The USHL takes another giant step forward in welcoming the city of Dubuque and Northern Lights Hockey into our growing family," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "The League now returns to a city which USHL fans remember fondly – but with a new and better League, the best young hockey players in the U.S. and the world, and a truly extraordinary ownership group. Most importantly, it comes home to a new Dubuque, which has become an emerging gem in the American landscape."
The owners of Northern Lights Hockey collectively provide an extensive background in both business and hockey, and represent interests on a national and local level. Philip Falcone, Chief Investment Officer of Harbinger Capital Partners, is the company's principal owner. A Harvard University graduate, Falcone has more than two decades of experience in leveraged finance, distressed debt, and special situations. In addition to overseeing all investment and business functions of Harbinger Capital Partners, Falcone is part owner of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.
Northern Lights Hockey also includes local Iowan partners Mark Falb and David S. Field, M.D. Falb currently serves as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Westmark Enterprises, Inc. and Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. The University of Iowa graduate also serves on the boards of multiple businesses in the Dubuque area. Dr. Field has practiced orthopaedic surgery for 30 years and has been a driving force behind hockey in Dubuque. He currently owns the Dubuque Thunderbirds which competes in the Central States Hockey League.
"We are extremely happy to be awarded a membership in the USHL and to have this organization represent the city of Dubuque," stated Brad Kwong, Managing Director of Northern Lights Hockey. "Our group recognizes the quality of the Dubuque market and through our significant investment we are committed to bringing a first class hockey operation to this community."
Today's announcement marks the USHL's return to Dubuque which originally competed in the League for 21 seasons (1980-2001) as the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The club won the Clark Cup as playoff champions on three occasions (1981, 1983, 1985) under head coach Jack Barzee, who is now in his 21st year with NHL Central Scouting. The Fighting Saints produced many players that moved to NCAA Division I hockey and even the NHL, including 17-year veteran NHL defenseman Gary Suter.
"Bringing a USHL team back to Dubuque not only enhances an already vibrant community, but furthers the tourism efforts of the region," Falb said. "And it provides yet another exciting event destination for local fans and visitors to Dubuque."
The new Dubuque team will play their home games at the Mystique Ice Center, a brand new 3,200-seat multi-purpose ice arena which broke ground on November 2nd. The arena is owned by the City of Dubuque but operated by Dubuque Community Ice and Recreations Center, Inc. (DICE).
Northern Lights Hockey, LLC will have further announcements about the new USHL Member Club in the coming weeks. Fans have the opportunity to vote for the new team's name and colors before its unveiling early next year at www.dubuqueushl.com.
Click here for feature story of the USHL's return to Dubuque.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)