In front of a North American Hockey League (NAHL) single-game record crowd of 7,777 at the Kansas Expocentre on Thursday night (March 25), NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld announced that the Topeka RoadRunners have been selected to host the 2011 Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament.
“We couldn’t be happier to bring our league championship to the Topeka community in 2011,” said Frankenfeld. “The RoadRunners organization has helped bring the NAHL to new heights, both on and off the ice, and we have no doubt they’ll host a first-class tournament.”
“To be able to host such a prestigious event like the Robertson Cup is exciting not only for our organization, but for the City of Topeka and Shawnee County,” said RoadRunners owner Don Stone. “We have the most passionate fans in the NAHL and community support that’s second to none and we can’t wait to showcase our hospitality to the entire league.”
The Kansas Expocentre, which boasts a seating capacity of 7,777, has approved a $1 million renovation project planned for this summer, which will include a new video and ribbon board.
“The Kansas Expocentre has always been proud of its hockey history and hockey family,” said Expocentre general manager H.R. Cook. “Having the Robertson Cup in Topeka will provide yet another opportunity for the citizens of Shawnee County to show their pride in our community by welcoming the players, coaches and officials with open, friendly arms.”
Since relocating from Santa Fe, N.M., after the 2006-07 season, the RoadRunners have established themselves as one of the premier teams in the NAHL, winning the league’s Organization of the Year award in 2007-08. The program has also moved over 50 players onto the collegiate and professional ranks.
“Hosting the Robertson Cup is an honor,” said RoadRunners head coach and general manager Scott Langer. “We’ve prepared ourselves for this opportunity and we’re ready to commit all our energy to being a quality host and doing everything first-class. It’s an exciting time for RoadRunner hockey.”
The five-team Robertson Cup Championship crowns the NAHL’s playoff champion (USA Hockey’s Tier II Junior A national champion). As the host team, the RoadRunners will receive an automatic bid to the 2011 tournament.
In addition to the RoadRunners, the playoff series winners from the Central, North, South and West Divisions will receive the other four bids to the tournament. If the RoadRunners win the 2011 South Division playoffs, the runner up from the South Division will receive the fifth bid.
In conjunction with the Robertson Cup Championship, the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) will showcase its Top Prospects Tournament, featuring the league’s top U18 players.
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 Saints when they won a record seven straight NAHL championships from 1976-83.
The Wenatchee Wild will host this year’s Robertson Cup Championship.
For more information on the Robertson Cup Championship, visit RobertsonCup.com.
The NAHL, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior A league boasting 24 teams from across the country, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey.
The NAPHL, which will begin its second season in 2010-11, has already established itself as the premier Midget league in North America. With junior, college and professional scouting presence at all of its events, coupled with a first-class organizational staff, the NAPHL offers unparalleled exposure and opportunity for every participating program. For more information on the NAPHL, visit NAPHL.com.