The North American Hockey League announced today that the North Iowa Outlaws have been selected to host the 2009 Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament, which will be held at the North Iowa Ice Arena in Mason City, Iowa.
“We are excited to bring our league championship to the North Iowa community in 2009,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “The Outlaws organization has helped bring the NAHL to new heights, both on and off the ice, and we have no doubt they will host a first-class tournament.”
“A lot of people have worked tirelessly to bring this tournament to the area,” said Outlaws owner Mark Motz. “It’s going to be a great event for the community and an opportunity for the league to showcase some of the best young players in the country in addition to helping promote and grow the sport of hockey in the North Iowa area.”
The four-team Robertson Cup Championship crowns the NAHL’s playoff champion (USA Hockey’s Tier II Junior A national champion). As the host team, the Outlaws will receive an automatic bid to the 2009 tournament.
The event will attract over 2,000 visitors, including fans, players, coaches, scouts and media over a four-day period. The economic impact to the North Iowa area generated from visitor spending is estimated at over $200,000. In addition, North Iowa residents will be provided the opportunity to attend the tournament, witnessing hockey at its best.
“This will be a great event for the fans of hockey in the North Iowa area,” said Outlaws GM Rick Wesp. “Not only will they be able to see and cheer on their own team, but they’ll see the best teams the NAHL has to offer, and we all know North Iowa has the best and the loudest fans in the league.”
Outlaws business manager Bob Thoms began inquiring about attracting the tournament to the area last September after the Mason City Convention & Visitors Bureau requested partners to submit new or existing sporting event ideas.
Through the partnership of the Mason City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Cerro Gordo County, the North Iowa Sports Authority was created and submitted a grant application to help attract the Robertson Cup to North Iowa.
A $50,000 Regional Sports Authority District Grant, provided by the State of Iowa through the Iowa Tourism Office, and a $25,000 cash match was secured in October.
“This funding gave the North Iowa Outlaws organization the boost needed to seek the bid for the National Tournament,” said Thoms.
“The North Iowa Outlaws, North Iowa Sports Authority and specifically the Mason City Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce have been working together extensively on this project because of the tremendous economic boost and national recognition it will bring to the North Iowa area,” said Vicki Hensley, Chair of the North Iowa Sports Authority. “We are thrilled to be the host community.”
In addition to the Outlaws, the playoff series winners from the North, South and Central Divisions will receive the other three bids to the tournament. If the Outlaws win the 2009 Central Division playoffs, the runner up from the Central Division will receive the fourth bid.
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 St. Louis Bandits will host this year’s Robertson Cup Championship.
More details on the 2009 Robertson Cup Championship will be released in the coming months.
For more information on the Robertson Cup Championship, visit www.robertsoncup.com.
The oldest and largest junior league in the United States, the North American Hockey League, a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior A league boasting 18 teams from across the country, including the esteemed USA Hockey National Team Development Program, 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.