The United States Hockey League announced today that the League’s Board of Directors has approved a new Member Club that will play in Madison, Wisconsin, commencing with the 2014-15 season.
The team will be owned and operated by Madtown Hockey, LLC, a consortium of veteran and new USHL owners. The League’s sixteen-member Board of Directors hosted the new ownership group last month at the USHL’s annual meeting in Kohler, Wisconsin and reviewed the plans for the new Madison team, which is set to play its home games at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center subject to final lease approval by the Dane County Board of Supervisors.
“I remember going to hockey games in the Coliseum as a kid. The environment there was awesome. We plan to bring that energy back with USHL hockey,” said Tom Garrity, CEO of Quan Sports Management and a Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin native who is part owner of the team and will be assisting with its launch.
“We really appreciate the efforts of the Alliant Energy Center staff in making this happen and are very excited to work with them to bring a great product to the people of Madison and its surrounding areas,” said Saul Treiman, the team’s Chairman and part-owner.
The other members of the ownership group are Charles Bidwill, III, Jeffrey Krol, Brian Schoenborn, and Greg Scott.
The new Madison team marks the return of USHL hockey to the city after nearly twenty years. The city was first part of the League from 11 seasons (1984-95), competing as the Madison Capitols (1984-91) and then as the Wisconsin Capitols (1991-95). The Capitols won over 200 games during the time in Madison, including a team record 33 games in both the 1986-87 and 1988-89 seasons under coach Scott Owens, the now long-time head coach at Colorado College.
A total of 12 USHL players who played in Madison would go on to be selected in the NHL Draft, in addition to numerous players that would earn NCAA Division I opportunities. Former NHL defenseman Brian Rafalski spent the 1990-91 season in the USHL with the Madison Capitols before staying in town to play collegiately at the University of Wisconsin. He would then embark on an 11-year NHL career that included winning three Stanley Cups, the most by any USHL alum. Derek Plante was part of the Madison team for the 1988-89 season and would become the second-ever USHL alum to win the Stanley Cup when he did so in 1999 with the Dallas Stars.
"We’ve been working on this project for the past nine months in order to insure the USHL returns to Madison as a successful Member Club,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince. “We’re almost there. Madison has changed and grown over the past twenty years – as has the USHL – but the city has retained a rich hockey tradition and a passionate fan base we think will be thrilled by the caliber of hockey and player the USHL will bring to Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It’s good to come back home.”
Several former Madison players have gone on to successful coaching careers, including current Team USA head coach Don Granato who also had a coaching stint with the team during the 1993-94 season. Mark Osiecki played with the Capitols in 1986-87 before his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin. He would return to the USHL as head coach of the Green Bay Gamblers (1997-2004). Mike Corbett played two USHL seasons in Madison (1990-92), and after spending the last decade on the coaching staff at the Air Force Academy, he was recently named as head coach at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
“We’re excited to welcome USHL hockey back to the Coliseum after nearly 20 years,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We know that, together with USHL hockey, we can provide an exciting experience for fans. This partnership is yet another reason why the Alliant Energy Center remains such an important contributor to Dane County’s regional economy, and continues to offer world-class entertainment for residents and visitors.”
The Madison team will participate as a League member at the Board and committee level, bringing the total League membership to a record high 17 teams. Garrity and Quan Sports will begin assembling a senior management team as the team commences business locally and prepares to take the ice for the 2014-15 season. The group plans a naming contest for the new team, which will take place this fall. Offices for the team will be located at the Alliant Energy Center.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)
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