The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the 2013 Robertson Cup Championship Tournament will be held from May 10-13, 2013 at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas, and for the first time in 10 years, will be hosted by the NAHL and not a member team. The Robertson Cup crowns the NAHL’s playoff champion and also represents USA Hockey’s Tier II Junior National Champion.
This year’s event will mark the third time in the last 10 years that the Robertson Cup Championship tournament will have been held at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco. Last season, the Texas Tornado hosted and won the tournament, winning their fifth Robertson Cup in the process. Back in May, the NAHL Board of Governors voted to change the format to let the league operate and run the event, rather than a host team. As a result, the winners of the four divisional playoff series will earn a berth to compete in the 2013 Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament.
“The NAHL is excited to be hosting and operating the Robertson Cup Championship this season and we are happy to bring it back to Frisco, Texas,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “We received great feedback about the location and the venue from last year and we felt it was important to select a place that gave us the best opportunity to operate a first-class event. We are confident that with the support of the City of Frisco, the Dallas Stars and the Dr Pepper Arena, we will be able to provide the players and fans with the best experience possible and in one of the best facilities of its kind in the country.”
This season also marks a change in the format from the previous 10 years, in which an NAHL member team has hosted and received an automatic bid to the event. The NAHL switched to a host team format during the 2003-04 season. Previous to that, the NAHL was an 11-team league and the Robertson Cup was decided in a divisional play-down format, in which two teams remained to play in a final series. However, because of the growth and expansion of the NAHL in the past 10 years, the format was changed to eliminate long distance travel during the earlier playoff rounds.
Opened in September of 2003, the Dr Pepper Arena is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue located in Frisco, Texas, in the heart of Collin County - one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. In addition to being home to the NAHL’s Texas Tornado, it’s the home practice facility and executive offices for the NHL’s Dallas Stars. During the 2008-09 season, the Dr Pepper Arena was renovated to increase the seating capacity from 3,733 seats to 5,000-7,000 seats depending on the event, and includes 12 luxury suites and a full service Gold Club restaurant and bar. In addition to hockey, the Dr Pepper Arena also hosts concerts, family shows, graduation ceremonies, trade shows and many other live entertainment and sporting events.
“The Dallas Stars are pleased and proud to once again be the host facility for the Robertson Cup Championship,” said the Dallas Stars’ Ed Reusch, vice -president of the Dr Pepper Arena. “We have a great working relationship with the North American Hockey League and we look forward to helping them produce a first-class event. We feel that the Dr Pepper Arena is an ideal venue for these young men to compete for a National Championship and a place that the visiting fans will enjoy as well.”
In conjunction with the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament, the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) and North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) will both showcase their respective Top Prospects Tournaments, featuring 80 of the best players from each league.
The oldest junior hockey trophy in the United States, the Robertson Cup is named in honor of Chuck Robertson, a pioneer of junior hockey in the NAHL and youth hockey in the state of Michigan. Robertson was the owner of the Paddock Pools team when it won a record seven straight NAHL championships from 1976-83.
For more information on the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament, visit http://www.robertsoncup.com/.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)